FIBA World Cup

Canada’s SGA still hungry after ousting Slovenia, claiming historic World Cup semis berth

JR Isaga

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Canada’s SGA still hungry after ousting Slovenia, claiming historic World Cup semis berth

GOING FOR GOLD. Canada guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander controls the ball against Slovenia's Luka Doncic in the 2023 FIBA World Cup


NBA star guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander silently tows Canada past Slovenia in the FIBA World Cup quarterfinal, just a step behind the Luka Doncic-Dillon Brooks squabble that stole the spotlight

MANILA, Philippines – In a battle of two FIBA World Cup title contenders, Canada showed Slovenia it was more ready to reach greater heights, as it pulled off a 100-89 ouster in the knockout quarterfinal at the packed Mall of Asia Arena on Wednesday, September 6, to earn its first-ever semis berth.

As Slovenia star Luka Doncic and Canada agitator Dillon Brooks traded bumps, verbal barbs, technical fouls, and eventual ejections, it was Canadian star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander who worked just a step behind the spotlight, dissecting the Slovenian defense with crafty moves and foul-fishing tactics.

Even in a team stacked with stars, Gilgeous-Alexander produced as if he was still the lone option back in the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder, tallying 31 points on an efficient 8-of-12 shooting clip and a huge 14-of-16 line off free throws to go with 10 rebounds and 4 assists.

Even with history already made for Canada with still two games to go, the 2022-2023 All-NBA First Team member is nowhere near content with what his team has achieved.

“It’s an honor. Just putting on this jersey is an honor in itself and to win is another good feeling. But like I said before, we’re not satisfied. We want to win the gold,” Gilgeous-Alexander said.

“We know we got to take it one step at a time. We play Serbia [next], a really great basketball team which just played really well. We got to try to prepare for them the same way we did for this game, then we can focus on the gold, but we know we got to take it one step at a time.”

Although Gilgeous-Alexander was Canada’s main constant against Slovenia, he made sure to credit everyone else who helped him along the way, including fellow NBA players and RJ Barrett, who scored 13 of his 24 points in the pivotal third quarter, and Brooks, who hounded Doncic until he no longer could.

“It was really good. We started getting stops defensively. Being able to run in transition is when we’re at our best, and we did so for most of that third quarter when we got the lead,” Gilgeous-Alexander continued.

With the quarterfinal win, Canada already guaranteed its best World Cup finish in 41 years, but given the sheer talent and chemistry of this current team, anything less than a finals appearance will more than likely look like a disappointment.

Having Gilgeous-Alexander at the helm, however, gives Canada a legitimate shot at the gold all by his lonesome, and that’s not even counting the six other NBA players who also drastically improve the team’s chances. –

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