July 10, 2016 / 3:22 PM / 3 years ago

France claim last Olympic basketball berth

Basketball - FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) - France v Canada - Manila, Philippines - 10/07/2016. Players from France celebrate as they the hold a ticket sign to the Rio Olympics after beating Canada. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco

MANILA (Reuters) - Former European champions France beat Canada 83-74 in the final of an Olympic qualifying tournament on Sunday to seal the last remaining berth at the Aug. 5-21 Games in Rio de Janeiro.

The French have joined host nation Brazil, champions the United States, Spain, Lithuania, Argentina, Australia, Serbia, Croatia, China, Venezuela and Nigeria in the Olympic event.

San Antonio Spurs playmaker Tony Parker, who has won four NBA titles with the Texan franchise, inspired France with a superb performance as he scored a game-high 26 points.

The French never looked back in a see-saw encounter after a 12-2 run late in the first half and early in the second gave them a 48-38 lead in the Philippines’ capital.

Whenever Canada closed the gap, Parker responded with either an audacious three-pointer or a vicious drive through the paint past his dazzled markers.

Nando De Colo, named the tournament’s most valuable player, added 22 points for France and forward Boris Diaw chipped in with nine.

Toronto Raptors guard Cory Joseph led the Canadians with 20 points and Melvin Ejim netted 19, but center Tristan Thompson of the Clevend Cavaliers, last season’s NBA champions, was restricted to eight points and seven rebounds.

Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic; Editing by Ken Ferris

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