MANILA, Philippines — Fueled by a solid resolve to make one final Olympic run before hanging up his French jersey, vereran guard Tony Parker spearheaded a mean finishing kick against Canada that ensured the extension of his international playing career from Manila to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil this August.
The 34-year-old 4-time NBA champion put on a vintage performance on his way to a game-high 26 points and helping France book the final ticket to Rio by defeating Canada, 83-74, in the 2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament final on Sunday, July 10.
As Parker knocked down 3-pointers, got crafty to finish layups and dished out 4 seamless assists to his teammates, he looked like a man hell-bent on ending his international career on a high note.
“No, no I couldn’t,” the San Antonio Spurs playmaker answered in French when asked if he could’ve ended his career in Manila. “That’s why I gave it all. I knew it was a back to back. [In the semifinal] the bench excelled so I knew I would have all my energy for this game.”
Parker dropped 15 of his total output in the payoff period, including a dagger triple – and a death stare of a man on a mission – that gave France a 73-66 edge with 2:15 remaining. His strong endgame performance closed out the Tristan Thompson and Cory Joseph-led Canada for good.
“We played aggressively to go make sure to get to Rio. I didn’t leave any chance to Canada, I made each shot that was needed,” he said. “I’m happy to go to the Olympics with my teammates. Mission accomplished and now we can savor it.” — Rappler.com