Canada has NBAers like Andrew Wiggins, Kelly Olynyk, and Corey Joseph on its roster, while I can almost guarantee you’ve never heard of anybody on Venezuela’s. But when the two teams met in the semifinals of the FIBA Americas tournament in Mexico City last night, it was Venezuela who prevailed 79-78.
There were a couple of extremely strange moments in the final minutes of the game. The first came with Venezuela down four, but on the comeback trail. After hitting a three, the bench got way too hyped up and the referee literally had to muzzle the Venezuelan coach:
Then, with the game tied at 78-78, Venezuela pounded the rock looking for the final shot. They put up a bad one that missed, but in the ensuing scuffle for the ball the referees called a (phantom?) loose ball foul on Canada, sending Gregory Vargas to the line to win the game:
Venezuela advances to the championship game against Argentina later tonight, but they’ve already won what they came to Mexico to win: an Olympic berth.
Canada has one last chance to qualify, as three more bids will be handed out at next summer’s FIBA World Olympics Qualifying Tournament. But instead of playing against relatively weak Western Hemisphere teams, they’ll have to fight through a couple of tough European teams that don’t qualify at the currently ongoing Eurobasket.
Photo via AP; h/t Derek