Surprising Canada rolls into 3-on-3 basketball World Cup playoffs
Canadians will face Netherlands in knockout round after going 4-0 in pool play
Canada's 3-on-3 basketball team is on quite the run at the World Cup.
The surprising Canadians have advanced to the quarter-finals in Manila, Philippines after winning twice more on Monday to finish up pool play with a perfect 4-0 record.
Canada will now face the Netherlands on Tuesday (watch live on CBCSports.ca at 3:15 a.m. ET). The winner advances to the semifinals and the loser is eliminated.
Canada came into the 20-team men's event ranked 14th in the world, so reaching the final eight at the World Cup is a significant accomplishment. Canada's four victories in pool play included wins over No. 3 Russia and No. 6 Brazil.
The Canadians are hoping their first World Cup appearance is a stepping stone to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, where 3-on-3 basketball will make its Olympic debut. Only eight teams will qualify for each of the men's and women's tournaments at the Olympics.
Canada does not have an entry in the women's 3-on-3 World Cup, which is being played alongside the men's tournament in Manila.
The 3-on-3 game is designed to be a simpler, faster-paced version of traditional basketball. It's typically played outdoors on a half court with one basket. Teams are allowed one sub on the bench. The shot clock starts at 12 seconds (half as much time as NBA players get). Shots made from inside the arc, as well as free throws, are worth one point. Shots made from beyond the arc are worth two. When the defensive team gains possession of the ball, they have to take it out beyond the arc. Games last 10 minutes, or until a team reaches 21 points.
Big win over Brazil
Canada enters the knockout stage on a high note after trouncing Brazil, the sixth-ranked team in the world, 22-4 in its pool-play finale.
Steve Sir and Michael Lieffers scored eight points each, with 3-on-3 veteran Michael Linklater and Jermaine Bucknor adding three apiece.
Earlier in the day, Canada defeated the host Philippines 20-19, holding on after starting the game on an 11-4 run. Linklater led the way with nine points, including the go-ahead basket with about five seconds left. Linklater blew past the taller man guarding him for a layup, and the Philippines missed on a subsequent two-point attempt at the buzzer that would have given them the win.
The Netherlands went 3-1 to finish second in Pool A, which was won by Serbia with a 4-0 record. The top-ranked Serbs have won three of the four men's World Cups — and the last two straight — since the tournament began in 2012.
The winner of the Canada-Netherlands quarter-final faces the winner of Slovenia vs. Ukraine.