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Canada’s Men’s Basketball Team Makes History at World Cup

Canada beat Slovenia to make the Semi-Finals of the World Cup for the first time ever.

Canadian basketball fans got some thrilling news from the Philippines. While stars shined and tempers flared during Wednesday’s game in Manila, Canada’s dream basketball summer rolled on as the men’s basketball team made it to the FIBA Men’s Basketball World Cup’s semi-finals for the first time. 

Canada moved one step closer to its first FIBA World Cup finals appearance by beating Slovenia 100-89. The game was close in the first half, ending with the score tied at 50. But in the second half, Canada took the lead. However, Slovenia didn’t give up easily. They closed the gap in the final period, but in the end, Canada’s teamwork and determination won the day.

Slovenia’s top player, NBA All-Star Dallas Maverick forward Luka Doncic, scored 26 points. But he was ejected from the game because he got two technical fouls for arguing with the referees. Canada’s Dillon Brooks — who was also ejected — was impressive on the defensive side of the ball, limiting Doncic to an 8-for-20 shooting performance.

“Congrats to these guys, they just made history,” Canada’s head coach Jordi Fernandez said.

Once again, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (SGA) was the star of the show. The Toronto native, named First Team All NBA this season while starring for the Oklahoma City Thunder, had a double-double, scoring 31 points while shooting 8-of-12 overall, converting 14-of-16 free throws, with 10 rebounds and four assists. Fellow Torontonians RJ Barrett and Nickeil Alexander-Walker weren’t far behind. Barrett scored 24 points and had nine rebounds, while Alexander-Walker contributed 14 points off the bench.  

Coach Fernandez praised Gilgeous-Alexander, saying, “Everybody sees Shai’s points, which is good … but he led the game in rebounding. He dominated the game at playmaking, scoring, and finishing possessions and offensive rebounds. He dominated the game. But everyone on the team has a role, and they all did their job.”

After the game, SGA said, “…we’re not done yet.” 

RJ Barrett added, “We played as a team, and that’s the best part.”

Canada’s next challenge? They will play against Serbia on Friday morning in the semi-finals. 

Coach Fernandez praised Serbia, saying, “They’re a strong team with a lot of experience. But we’re learning and improving every day.”

Gilgeous-Alexander thinks Canada can beat Serbia and reach the final.

“We play together, we play fast, we play tough, we’re pretty hard to beat. We’ve just gotta keep imposing our will, imposing our identity on teams for 40 minutes, and we’ll be alright,” SGA told Sportsnet after Wednesday’s win.

If they do, our Canadian men will make history again.

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