Parker lifts France over Canada and into Rio Olympics
Nearing the end of his illustrious international career, Tony Parker showed he still has lot left in the tank.
Parker took over late and France downed Canada, 83-74, to secure the last ticket to Rio in the Fiba Olympic qualifying tournament in Manila Sunday night at Mall of Asia Arena.
With Canada threatening, the 34-year-old Parker took matters into his own hands, putting France on his back with 13 of his game-high 26 points coming in the final six minutes and 21 seconds of the game.
“Obviously, when you let these guys run on the court it’s very difficult to stop them,” said France coach Vincent Collet. “Unfortunately for them, we found solutions and we shot better from the three points.
The savvy guard, who won four NBA championships with the San Antonio Spurs, put the finishing touches to the French’s tour-de-force performance the whole tournament with a pull-up jumper, two 3-pointers, a three-point play and two free throws in just a span of over five minutes that ended Canada’s road to Rio.
His last eight points put the game away, 75-66, with 1:07 left after the Canadians pulled to within three after a Tyler Ennis triple two minutes earlier.
“We battled hard but at the end, I feel like Tony got going, hit a couple of threes,” said Canada’s star guard Cory Joseph. “We had a lot of turnovers. We weren’t able to get it done but we fought hard and I’m proud of our guys.”
Nando de Colo added 22 points for the undefeated France and was named the tournament MVP.
France joined Croatia and Serbia as the last teams to make the Rio Olympics slated next month.
Joseph and Melvin Ejim had 20 and 19 points, respectively for Canada, which suffered its only loss.