By Neil Jerome Morales
MANILA (Reuters) – Canada bagged their first-ever FIBA Basketball World Cup podium finish at the expense of undermanned United States 127-118 in overtime in a riveting bronze medal game on Sunday in Manila.
NBA players Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Dillon Brooks took control in overtime, scoring a combined 11 points for Canada.
Brooks, who will play for the Houston Rockets next season, powered the Canadians with his tournament-high 39 points, along with four rebounds and five assists.
Gilgeous-Alexander, Canada’s leading scorer, rebounder and passer, finished with 31 points, six rebounds and 12 assists.
Team USA’s NBA Rookie of the Year Paolo Banchero, Defensive Player of the Year Jaren Jackson Jr, and forward Brandon Ingram were sidelined due to illness.
Team USA’s leading scorer, Anthony Edwards of the Minnesota Timberwolves, recorded 24 points, five rebounds and three assists. Fan favourite Austin Reaves sparked U.S. off the bench with 23 points, while three more U.S. players scored in double-digits.
Canada achieved multiple milestones in the tournament, including semi-final debut, while qualifying for the Summer Olympics for the first time since 2000.
Despite the defeat, the United States finished better than their seventh spot in 2019, their worst-ever major international tournament result. The U.S. have won the tournament a record five times.
(Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales, editing by Christian Radnedge)