France guns for top ranking vs NZ today | Inquirer Sports

France guns for top ranking vs NZ today

By: - Reporter / @MusongINQ
11:56 PM July 06, 2016

Philippines vs France in a FIBA OQT match at Mall of Asia Arena. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

Philippines vs France in a FIBA OQT match at Mall of Asia Arena. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

AFTER getting a wake-up call two nights ago, France guns for top ranking in Group B in the Manila Olympic Qualifying Tournament’s Final Four today when it clashes with New Zealand at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.

Pushed to the limit by Gilas Pilipinas on opening day Tuesday, Tony Parker will get more help when the French welcome back Nicolas Batum for the 9 p.m. contest against the Tall Blacks.

A win by France would give them No. 1 ranking and the right to play No. 2 coming from Group A in the crossover Final Four.

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The Tall Blacks, the only team here without an NBA veteran, and the Filipinos were slugging it out as of this writing.
A win by New Zealand would oust Gilas and would make New Zealand vs France today the battle for No. 1 in Group B.

Canadians sweep elims

Canada, also bannered by a number of NBA veterans like France, bagged the distinction in Group A after barely scrapping past a tough Senegal side, 58-55, in the first game last night.

The Canadians found the going rough against the hard-fighting Senegalese inside the paint in what has turned out to be the lowest-scoring contest in the tournament thus far.

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Counting a 77-69 win over Turkey on Tuesday night, the Canadians ended their first round assignment with a 2-0 card, making the clash between the Turks and the Senegalese at 6:30 p.m. today a you-or-me clash for the second Group A berth.

France’s opponent

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The winner of that match, should France dismantle New Zealand today, will take on the French in the Final Four.

Turkey was manhandled by the Canadians after Corey Joseph scored 21 points in a 77-69 victory.

Parker, even with Batum set to see action after signing his $120 million, five-year contract extension with the Charlotte Hornets, will continue to be the focal point of the French game.

Parker’s leadership

On Tuesday, after France trailed the Filipinos by 10 in the first half, Parker showed his great court generalship skills by holding the French together and leading them back in the contest.

Just one

Only the champion of this tournament will be given a slot in the 12-team main draw of the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics set next month where the United States will try to extend its supremacy.

Nando de Colo was the other man who did a lot of damage on the Filipinos, finishing with 27 points on Tuesday. And if Batum does play, he could find himself open a lot today.

Corey Webster is NZ’s best player and the Kiwis could also prove to be tough nuts to crack because of their size.

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The tournament takes a one-day break tomorrow to rest the qualifiers before the semifinals is played on Saturday and the title game on Sunday.

TAGS: Basketball, France, Gilas Pilipinas, Manila Olympic Qualifying Tournament

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