Parker, Thompson head MVP hopefuls
NATIONAL Basketball Association stars Tony Parker and Tristan Thompson, who led their respective countries France and Canada to the Finals of the Manila Olympic Qualifying Tournament, are among five candidates for the tournament’s MVP award.
Nando De Colo, France’s scoring machine, is also in the list together with Canada’s Cory Joseph.
The surprise inclusion in the list of candidates is New Zealand’s Corey Webster, one of the tournament’s leading scorers but the onlyone who is not playing in the title match.
Parker, a winner of four NBA titles with the San Antonio Spurs, is playing his last year internationally for Les Bleus. He made the list of candidates despite shooting just two points in France’s 77-65 Final Four victory over Turkey on Saturday night.
The title game is being played at press time, with the MVP to be known shortly after the final buzzer.
Thompson, who helped Cleveland come back from a 1-3 deficit to Golden State to win the NBA title this season, is averaging 10 points and 8.7 rebounds going into last night’s title clash with the French.
The 6-foot-9 power forward also had two double doubles before last night.
Parker, on the other hand, averaged just 9.5 points per outing for France.
Among the MVP hopefuls, Webster has the highest point production with 21.7 a night. But he has the most points in the tournament with 65 in three games.
Joseph has shot 57 to average 19 per game.
Meanwhile, if it is any consolation for host the Philippines, Gilas’ naturalized center Andray Blatche led the tournament in scoring with 25.5 points a contest.
Two more Filipinos, Jason Castro and Terrence Romeo, finished in the Top 10, occupying seventh and eighth spots after averaging 13.5 and 12, respectively.
There were also surprising non-inclusions in the list, like Thomas Huertel, Parker’s backup.
Huertel helped the French immensely in their last two victories, including that breakaway win over the Turks on Saturday where he scored 12 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter that kept Parker on the bench.
Meanwhile, the new Fiba qualifying schedule practically favors the Philippines as the world governing body will reportedly merge Asia with Oceania and allot a total of seven slots for the combined region in big events.
The new qualifying schedule will basically run for close to 16 months leading to the World Cup in China. But with the Chinese already hosting the event and are already seeded, the seven slots will be left vacant.
In the Oceania group, only Australia and New Zealand are the real strong teams, while the Philippines has had successes against long-time Asian rivals South Korea, Iran, China, Kazakhstan and Jordan.