In the Quarter-Finals of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023, Canada and Slovenia engaged in a thrilling contest that featured 18 lead changes in just the first half.
However, Canada emerged victorious with a final score of 100-89 in front of an enthusiastic crowd at the sold-out arena in Manila.
As a result of this win, Canada will advance to the Semi-Finals at the Mall of Asia Arena, where they will face Serbia, while Slovenia will participate in Classification Games 5-8.
The first half of the game witnessed both teams playing at an incredibly high pace, with neither side having a traditional big player on the court to counter the offensive threats posed by Luka Doncic and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
The score was tied at 50 points each after 20 minutes of play, showcasing one of the most remarkable halves in World Cup history.
Whatever motivational words coach Jordi Fernandez shared with his team during halftime had a significant impact, as Canada shifted into a higher gear in the second half.
RJ Barrett had a standout performance in the third quarter, contributing 13 points, while Dillon Brooks nailed a crucial three-pointer early in the second half, contributing to a seven-point lead for Canada.
Brooks celebrated the shot enthusiastically, despite a less-than-warm reception from the crowd when he entered the court.
With five minutes remaining in the third quarter, Canada extended their lead to 10 points, and Slovenia struggled to mount a comeback in the remaining 15 minutes of play, primarily due to Canada’s exceptional defensive performance in the second half.
“It feels great,” RJ Barrett said. “We went out there and did it as a unit, everybody played hard together, we were fighting and that’s the best part about it. The next step is enjoying this one tonight, watching the film tomorrow and getting to practice, getting ready to win this next game.
“I watched a bit of (Serbia’s) last game against Lithuania, they play well, they play together, and my high school teammate Filip Petrusev is on that team, so it’s gonna be fun.”
Watch the game highlights between Canada and Slovenia in the Quarter-Finals of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023: