Thompson hungry for FIBA OQT success after winning NBA title

MANILA, Philippines – After winning the NBA championship with the Cleveland Cavaliers last month, big man Tristan Thompson could bask in more success should he reach the Rio Olympics.

The 25-year-old played his best game for Canada in the 2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament Saturday, July 9, in a key semifinals victory over New Zealand and is one win away from an Olympics ticket. 

“Coach Jay (Triano), the whole coaching staff and front office put a team together to come here and win. We’ve traveled this far. The guys went to multiple destinations to prepare for this moment,” said Thompson, who had a solid performance in the NBA Finals and is continuing his steady play in the qualifier. 

“I’m glad I was able to join and be part of this, we have one more game. 

Canada will square off with France for the right to compete in the Rio Olympics this August. The final is set for Sunday, July 10 at 9 pm.

Thompson tallied 13 points on 4-of-5 shooting to go with 10 rebounds in the 78-72 New Zealand triumph. He was +4 during his 29 minutes on the floor. 

EMOTION. Tristan Thompson reacts during Canada's match versus New Zealand in the FIBA OQT. Photo by Martin San Diego/Rappler

EMOTION. Tristan Thompson reacts during Canada's match versus New Zealand in the FIBA OQT.

Photo by Martin San Diego/Rappler

Thompson had 7 points, 10 rebounds, and a block in a group phase win over Senegal, and he registered 10 markers, 6 boards, and 3 assists in the tournament opener against Turkey. His presence alone in the paint has caused problems for opponents in the 6-nation tilt.

Coach wanted to break the tournament down to 4 quarters, and it's the fourth quarter and whoever the winner may be, the guys got to be prepared and ready,” he said. “We came this far, we came here to put ourselves in a position to win.”

Thompson said he will continue to fulfill his role of bringing energy to the game as he works to give Canada the win that matters most. 

“I’m not worried about the stats. For me it’s competing and doing whatever it takes to win because winning trumps everything.” – Rappler.com