Laurie Ewing, Canadian Press
Hamilton – Shay Gilgus Alexander was dominant in his first match at Maple Leaf in six years, and the Oklahoma City Thunder guard scored 32 points to lead Canada to a 95-75 victory over the Dominican Republic in the World Cup qualifying stage.
Canada improved to 5-0 on Canada Day on Friday. The Dominican Republic experienced a record slump in its history to 3-2 – both losses came to Canada.
Kelly Olynyk scored 17 points and had 11 rebounds in the win. Gilgus Alexander’s cousin Nickel Alexander Walker also scored 17 points in front of 6,000 fans at First Ontario Center.
Gilgeos Alexander, who has not been on the field since mid-March due to an ankle injury, had five rebounds, four assists, three steals and two blocks.
Victor Les led the Dominican team with 12 points.
On Monday, Canada will be on its way to face the US Virgin Islands there, concluding the third international window.
The third of six international windows kicked off the team’s summer season. Head coach Nick Norse had four NBA players in his starting lineup on Friday.
Canada has been a victim of the absence of regular NBA players in the major leagues. After missing out on qualification for last year’s Tokyo Olympics, Norse asked the team’s top players to sign a three-year agreement to play with Canada until the 2024 Paris Games.
Gilgus Alexander, Alexander Walker (Utah Jazz), Dwight Powell (Dallas Mavericks) and Olinick (Detroit Pistons) were included in the starting line-up. Regular Melvin Ejim in the national team completed the starting lineup.
The World Cup qualification phase includes 80 countries spread over four regions. Eight teams from the Americas will participate in the 2023 World Cup, which will be held in Indonesia, Japan and the Philippines.
The World Cup is also the main gateway to the Paris Games. The remaining three international windows are late August, November and finally February 2023.
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