Tony Parker waxes hot as France bags final berth in Rio Olympics with big win over Canada
France celebrates after catching the last bus to the Rio Olympics. Jerome Ascano

TONY Parker made sure France won’t miss the last trip going to the Rio De Janeiro Olympics. 

The San Antonio Spurs guard scored 15 of his game-high 26 points in the fourth quarter to lead Les Bleus to a convincing 83-74 victory over Canada and bagged the final Olympic slot for the men's basketball tournament Sunday night.

The outcome of the Manila Olympic Qualifying Tournament remained on the line going into the final four minutes of the game when Parker finally decided to take charge.

After Tyler Ennis pushed the Canadians to within 67-64, the four-time NBA champion began to make his move and completed a three-pointer off an Ennis foul.

That sparked eight straight points by the 6-foot-2 guard sandwiched between an Anthony Bennett three-pointer as the French moved over to safer grounds, 75-66, with 67 seconds left.

Soon after, celebration began for Les Bleus and its horde of fans which cheered them endlessly the entire game at the Mall of Asia Arena.

"Unbelievable feeling for our country that we are going to the Olympics. It was our goal," said Parker.

The top player of France shot 3 of 5 from three-point range, two of them in the final quarter, while Nando de Colo added 22 on 8 of 12 shooting from the field to emerged as the tournament MVP.

“This is something special. It’s always a great experience to go to the Olympics,” said De Colo afterwards.

France finished sixth the last time it played in the Olympics in London four years ago.

Shortly after, the French ended up being bracketed in Group A with defending Olympic champion USA following the drawing of lots held shortly after the game.

Joseph Corey had 20 points for Canada, which will have to wait for another four years to have a shot at the Olympics, where it last played in 2000 in Athens.

"We battledhard but I think Tony just took over in the fourth quarter," said Joseph, who had the unenviable task of trying to stop the 32-year-old Parker.

"We're a young team and will learn and grow from this (experience)."


The scores

France (83) - Parker 26, De Colo 22, Diaw 9, Batum 7, Heurtel 5, Kahudi 5, Lauvergne 4, Diot 3, Gelabale 2, Tillie 0.

Canada (74) - Joseph 20, Ejim 19, Ennis 9, Thompson 8, Bennett 7, Scrubb T. 5, Scrubb P. 2, Birch 2,  Heslip 2.

Quarterscores: 30-25; 39-36; 56-51; 83-74.


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