France defeats Canada to win last Olympic basketball berth
France earned the final basketball spot in the Olympics, beating Canada 83-74 on Sunday in the championship game of the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Manila, Philippines.
The French were then drawn along with Serbia into Group A in Rio, placing them in the same pool as the two-time defending champion United States.
The U.S., Serbia and France were the three medalists in the Basketball World Cup in 2014.
Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs scored 26 points for the French, who pulled away in the fourth quarter after the game was close most of the way. Fellow guard Nando de Colo scored 22 points and added MVP honors of this tournament to his Euroleague MVP award.
France fell just short of qualifying last summer when it lost to Spain in the EuroBasket semifinals. But it made the most of its final chance and joins Serbia and Croatia, who won the other two Olympic Qualifying Tournaments on Saturday.
Cory Joseph scored 20 points for Canada, but Parker—whom Joseph used to back up with the Spurs before joining the Toronto Raptors—was just a little better.
Group A in Rio will include the U.S., Serbia, France, Australia, China and Venezuela.
Group B is Spain, Lithuania, Argentina, Brazil, Croatia and Nigeria.