France tops Canada, books Olympic spot | Inquirer Sports

France tops Canada, books Olympic spot

By: - Reporter / @MusongINQ
/ 12:20 AM July 11, 2016

TONY Parker has said that this will be his last year playing internationally for France. He made sure last night that his final event would be the Olympics.

With a virtuoso performance in the fourth quarter, Parker booked the final ticket for the French in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games after leading Les Bleus to an 83-74 victory over a game Canada in the championship match of the Manila Olympic Qualifying Tournament at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.

Parker scored 13 straight points in a five-minute span—when the game hung in the balance—as the French joined Serbia and Croatia in bagging the last slots in the Summer Games’ 12-team main draw.

Croatia prevailed in the OQT in Turin, Italy, while Serbia won its qualifier in Belgrade.

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Nando de Colo, the man at the forefront of the French offense in the first three periods, went on to win tournament MVP honors over Parker. He finished with 22 points.

Parker had 15 points in the fourth and 26 for the night and, after red-white-and blue balloons fell as the final buzzer sounded, got hugs of thanks from most of his teammates.

It was easily the tournament’s best game for the San Antonio Spurs superstar and it came at the perfect time. The Canadians, behind Cory Joseph and Melvin Ejim, had tugged at the French’s coattails for most of the game.

Those 13 straight Parker points was the KO punch that finally fell the Canadians.

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After Ejim had shoved Canada to within five, Parker touched off his spurt with an 18-foot jumper on his return from a brief rest, before draining a triple to beat the 24-second shotclock in the next French offensive.

FRANCE star Tony Parker gets away from Canada’s Anthony Bennett for a reverse layup in last night’s title match at MoA Arena. AUGUST DELA CRUZ

FRANCE star Tony Parker gets away from Canada’s Anthony Bennett for a reverse layup in last night’s title match at MoA Arena. AUGUST DELA CRUZ

Canada inched to within 66-70 after two Anthony Bennett free throws with 2:39 remaining, before Parker dropped his third triple and then made two more free throws with 1:07 left that put the Canadians away.

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It was after those charities when Parker started showing some emotion, letting out a primal yell as Canada called for time in a last-ditch effort to turn the game around.

Joseph finished with 20 points, though he was held to just four in the fourth period as France’s defense ganged up on him.

Ejim wound up with 19 capped by a string of seven straight points bridging the third and fourth periods that had Canada coming within 57-62 with 6:43 to go.

De Colo, who came into the game averaging a shade under 16 points, scored 11 of his 13 first-half points in the opening frame, helping France establish control with leads of as large as seven points.

Boris Diaw beat the halftime buzzer with a triple as France led, 39-36, going into the third period as Canada’s lapsed into 10 turnovers.

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The scores:
FRANCE 83—Parker 26, De Colo 22, Diaw 9, Batum 7, Kahudi 5, Huertel 5, Lauvergne 4, Diot 3, Gelabale 2, Pietrus 0, Tillie 0.
CANADA 74—Joseph 20, Ejim 19, Ennis 9, Thompson 8, Bennett 7, Scrubb T. 5, Scrubb P. 2, Birch 2, Heslip 2.
Quarters: 30-25, 39-36, 56-51, 83-74

TAGS: Basketball, FIBA, Gilas Pilipinas, Manila Olympic Qualifying Tournament, Tony Parker

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