France pulls within two wins of berth in Olympic basketball tournament

France rallied from a 12-point deficit in the fourth quarter to beat New Zealand 66–59 on Thursday, moving two victories from a spot in the Olympic basketball tournament.

The French clinched first place in their Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Manila, Philippines, and will play Turkey on Saturday in the semifinals. Canada will face New Zealand in the other semifinal.

Mikael Gelabale scored seven of his 11 points in the fourth quarter for France. Boris Diaw, recently traded from San Antonio to Utah, finished with 10 points and six rebounds. The French, the tournament favorite, outscored New Zealand 28-11 in the fourth quarter.

Corey Webster led New Zealand with 21 points.

In the other game in Manila, Ali Muhammed scored 23 points as Turkey clinched its semifinal spot by beating Senegal 68-62. Semih Erden finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds.

The semifinals in the other two tournaments had already been set and will be held Friday. Italy will play Mexico, while Greece takes on Croatia in Turin, Italy.

In Belgrade, Serbia, Latvia meets Puerto Rico, and Serbia hosts the Czech Republic.

The winners of the three tournaments will earn the final three berths in Rio.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide—from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Andy Staples, Grant Wahl, and more—delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.