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Canadian men’s basketball head coach Jordi Fernandez isn’t settling to blame the officiating as the bitter result of their semifinal collapse against Serbia at the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup.

One aspect that heavily influenced the Road Warriors’ struggles was their concerning foul count since the start against the Eagles, but Fernandez dismissed any idea of pointing at disadvantages regarding the whistles.

“It’s part of the game of basketball. It’s like two teams of 12 – five of each team are on the court, and there are three officials. Those officials, their job is to judge, and our job is to coach. Those two guys have two fouls, and I have to sit them out. And from there, we kept playing,” Fernandez said after their 95-86 defeat against the Serbians.

Fernandez pointed at both Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Dillon Brooks whom he sidelined at the earliest portion of the Semis matchup. Gilgeous-Alexander quickly picked up his first two fouls at 3:27 in the first frame, while Brooks followed him up to the bench after a minute because of a personal foul over Bogdan Bogdanovic.

“We kept playing hard. Obviously, I got a technical foul on purpose, and I have my reasons. Again, I think we lost because we didn’t defend. I’ll let the officiating for whoever judges the officials. I can only say to them, ‘Thanks for doing them their jobs.’ Without officials, we couldn’t play the game of basketball. So, we just got to be better.”

In the end, the ace point man wounded three fouls, while Brooks was on the verge of exit with four counts of violations.

Canada’s two most important cagers throughout this World Cup campaign were significantly limited when it mattered the most. As such, the entire Road Warriors compiled 25 total fouls on Friday evening – much heavier than the 18.1 averages in their first six games of the tournament.

Fernandez insisted that in no way did officiating affect their game flow when Serbia managed to go lights out by shooting 62.1 percent from the field while 45 percent at the three-point line.

“As coaches, we say you have to defend without fouling and you have to be physical without fouling. Today, apparently we are not – obviously I’m not going to judging again into the officiating. But our guys kept fighting. In that third quarter, we cut it down to seven,” Fernandez said.

“We are so close to make a run. We stayed right there and right there. But the reality is that we cannot get a stop. So that’s going to be our focus [heading to the bronze medal match on Sunday].

“The officials will never be our focus.”