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France earns last ride to Rio after trouncing Canada in OQT final

By Ivan Saldajeno

PASAY—France completed the cast of the participating teams in the Rio Olympics basketball competition after beating Canada, 83-74, in the final game of the FIBA OQT at the Mall of Asia Arena on Sunday night.

Tony Parker went on a roll in the payoff period to help the Frenchmen pull away from the Canadians to join earlier OQT winners Croatia and Serbia in next month's Olympiad.

Both teams started hot, making at least 65 percent of their shots in the first quarter. France took the lead, 30-25, after the first ten minutes.

Defense then became the name of the game in the second with both teams forcing each other to tough shots.

France, despite making only nine in the period, entered their dugout with the lead as Boris Diaw nailed a triple before the buzzer sounded to go up, 39-36.

That sparked a 12-2 run that spilled to the third to open a 48-38 cushion.

Canada stayed in pace, drawing to as close as three, 57-60, early in the fourth.

But the San Antonio Spurs' prime point guard, who struggled in his last two games, came alive, leading France's pivotal 19-9 run to open the game's largest gap at 13, 79-66, as Canada never recovered.

Parker finished with 26 points, 15 in the final frame, with four rebounds, four assists, and one steal for France, whose Olympic group will be known later Sunday.

Nando De Colo, adjudged the tournament MVP, added 22 as he led the way for the Les Bleus by making half of his output in the first canto.

Cory Joseph had 20 markers, four rebounds, six assists, and three steals for Canada but was credited for seven of the team's 21 turnovers.

Box Scores:

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

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

Quarterscores: 30-25, 39-36, 56-51, 83-74

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