Parker-led France team to beat in OQT | Inquirer Sports

Parker-led France team to beat in OQT

By: - Reporter / @MusongINQ
/ 10:23 PM June 19, 2016

France's Tony Parker controls the ball during their Eurobasket European Basketball Championship Group A match against Germany, in Ljubljana, Slovenia, Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013. AP

France’s Tony Parker controls the ball during their Eurobasket European Basketball Championship Group A match against Germany, in Ljubljana, Slovenia, Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013. AP

EVEN with some of its NBA veterans sitting it out, France still has all the tools it needs to be the team to beat in the Manila leg of Fiba’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament blasting off July 5 at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.

Tony Parker, a many-time champion with the San Antonio Spurs and still one of the top point guards in the world, will lead the French in the short event that will stake one of three remaining main draw berths for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.

Nicolas Batum, who plays for the Charlotte Hornets, is in camp for the French and will be a vital part of the rotation for coach Vince Collett.

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France will be missing other NBA veterans Rudy Gobert, Evan Fournier and Ian Mahinmi, but the squad still has Boris Diaw and Florence Pietrus.

The French have been bracketed in Group B together with Gilas Pilipinas and New Zealand. They are tipped to top this group and draw the No. 2 from Group A, which is composed of Canada, Turkey and Senegal, in the Final Four.

Gilas has Parker and the French as a first opponent on July 5 before colliding with the Kiwis the following day. Incidentally, New Zealand will also be missing an NBA veteran in the hulking Steven Adams of the Oklahoma City Thunder.

France started camp on June 10 like Gilas and is scheduled to play several tune-up matches before arriving in Manila to acclimatize on June 30.

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Another player worth watching from France is Nando de Colo, a shooting guard who plies his trade in the Russian pro league with CSKA Moscow.

The 6-foot-8 veteran averaged 18.9 points and was named as the Euro League’s Final Four MVP last season.

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TAGS: Fiba Olympic Qualifying Tournament, France, Gilas Pilipinas, Nando de Colo, Nic Batum, Tony Parker

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