More firepower for France as Batum set to debut in FIBA OQT | Inquirer Sports

More firepower for France as Batum set to debut in FIBA OQT

By: - Reporter / @MarkGiongcoINQ
/ 07:23 PM July 08, 2016



As if France needs additional firepower, Nicolas Batum will finally make his Fiba Olympic qualifying tournament debut on Saturday after getting the go-signal from the NBA.

Batum is just one of four players from France’s roster in the tournament currently in the NBA and his presence will certainly make the French team more fearsome to play against.


The 27-year-old Batum plays his first game against Turkey in Saturday’s semifinals after missing his team’s first two outings — both wins over host Philippines and New Zealand — due to the NBA’s offseason moratorium on player movement.


“Of course, I wanted to be on the court yesterday (Thursday). I was waiting for a call from the NBA to let me play but the call came like an hour after the game,” Batum told reporters during France’s media availability on Friday at Sofitel Manila.

“I’m just relieved. I can’t wait for tomorrow (Saturday) and finally be on the court to play basketball because I’ve been practicing on the side for the last two, three weeks. It’s cool to run on the side but I’m not a tracker, I’m a basketball player so I just want to be on the court.”

The lengthy 6-foot-8 forward agreed to re-sign with the Charlotte Hornets for a five-year, $120 million deal last week.

A proven two-way player, Batum gives France a potent scorer inside and out and a versatile defender that can cover multiple positions.

“I’m very happy that he’s here. He’s gonna help us. It’s going to be coach’s decision on how many minutes he’s going to play. It’s great to have extra bodies especially on a back-to-back,” said teammate Tony Parker.

“It’s definitely good that he’s able to play now. We know what Nicolas can bring offensively and defensively. He’s gonna bring size and athleticism and we’ve very happy to have him,” said France captain Boris Diaw.


Batum also said he’s not concerned over the adjustments he and the rest of the team have to make with him back in the lineup because technically, there won’t be a need for any.

“We have the same group and the same core since 2009. It won’t be really tough to play tomorrow. I know the plays, I know the guys, I know everything,” he said.

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“Maybe it will only take one or two minutes to adjust with the guys. I’ve been playing with them for the last nine summers. I know them and they know me so that’s going to be easy.”

TAGS: Basketball, Fiba OQT, France, Gilas Pilipinas, Les Blues, Nicolas Batum, Sports, Vince Collet

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