Thanks to a takeover by Tony Parker, the France ‘Les Bleus’ national team fended off the Canadian national team, 83-74, in the final game of the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines to capture the final slot for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
With Canada down by just five points, 62-57, with six minutes left in the game and threatening to make a comeback run, the NBA and France legend Parker scored 13 straight points for France answering every Canadian basket to put the score at 75-66 with 1:07 left. Veterans Nando de Colo and Mickael Gelabale then took cue with two free throws and a layup, respectively, to put the Canadians in a 14-point hole that they could not get out off.
Parker finished with 26 points, four rebounds and four assists. Nando de Colo, who was hailed tournament MVP, finished with 22 points, five rebounds and three assists.
“It was a tough game like we expected. We knew they were really good quality.” de Colo said.
Cory Joseph, who has been brilliant all tournament long, finished with 20 points, six assists but had seven turnovers.
“They forced me to a lot of turnovers. We weren’t able to get it done.” Joseph said.
“When you let these guys run the floor and play open court, it’s very difficult to stop them. We had this goal more than anything else to (play) them halfcourt.” France head coach Vincent Collet said of their Canadian opponents.
France will join Serbia and Croatia as late additions to the Olympic teams roster as both squads also one their respective Olympic Qualifying tournaments.
“We played like a team and this is great.” De Colo added.
“We went to the Olympics in 2012 and we know how great it is,” reflected Collet of the Olympic experience in the past.
“To finish this game with a ticket to Rio is something special for us.” Collet added, cherishing his team’s victory.
France: Parker 26, de Colo 22, Batum 9, Diaw 7, Huertel 5, Kahudi 5, Lauvergne 4, Diot 3, Gelable 2, Pietrus 0, Tillie 0.
Canada: Joseph 20, Ejim 19, Ennis 9, Thompson 8, Bennet 7, T. Scrubb 5, Heslip 2, Birch 2, P. Scrubb 2.