France halts Canadian hope of men’s Olympic basketball
An experienced France team ended Canada’s hope of having a men’s basketball team at the Olympic Games, winning 83-74 on Sunday in Manila, Philippines.
In a game of two undefeated teams, where the winner goes to Rio from one of the three FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments, NBA veteran Tony Parker took over for France, matching – and surpassing – anything Canada had to offer.
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Parker, a four-time NBA champion with San Antonio, led his team with 26 points and four assists, including timely late game daggers that snuffed out any momentum Canada could muster.
Melvin Ejim did his best to keep Canada in the contest, scoring 19, including the first six Canadian points of the fourth quarter when there was still hope for a comeback. Cory Joseph led the Canadians in scoring with 20 points.
France had led by as much as 10 points in the third quarter, leaving Canada to always chase the scoreboard.
It’s the second time Canada was one game win away from sending a men’s team to Rio 2016, only to be thwarted. Last September, Venezuela did the deed against Canada, winning the final of the FIBA Americas.
There will still be Olympic basketball for Canada in Rio. The Canada Basketball women’s team won its FIBA Americas tournament and secured their Olympic spot last year.