The French National team defeated a feisty Philippines 93-84 Tuesday to win their first game of the FIBA Olympic Qualifiers.
France was led by Parker, Boris Diaw and former San Antonio Spur Nando De Colo. The trio led the way for Les Blues as Philippines came out aggressive. Philippine started hot in the first quarter, shooting 50 percent. From the second quarter and beyond, it was a different story. Philippines cooled off while Parker and France heated up.
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In the end, France shot 54 percent from the floor. What helped the French team make the turnaround from the first quarter was better ball movement–which resulted in an 18-11 edge in assists.
Parker finished with 21 points, six assists and four rebounds in 30 minutes of play. His play was key for France. It seemed to be vintage Parker as picked his spots on when to attack the rim, using penetration as an opportunity for him to suck in the defense to allow for the kick action to shooters. He also utilized pick and roll to also create matchup problems for the Philippines. All and all, Parker was great as he shot 54 percent in the game.
Diaw as he has done over the five years with San Antonio gave quality minutes and production. He finished with nine points, nine rebounds, and showed off the skill that many big man don’t have passing as he finished with six assists. The French were working through Diaw down on the block to create movement and offense. Diaw possesses a good skill set when he is in the post. He does not look to shoot first but to create. Diaw on several occasions kicked the ball out to open shooters on the perimeter. When the Philippines defense did not double-down on Diaw, he would use his body to submit his defender into an easy layup.
Nando De Colo has been playing lights out recently for his new team CSKA Moskow. He showed his worth in France’s opener as he finished with a game-high 27 points. The Euroleague MVP went 9-of-14 from the field to lead Les Bleus. He also finished with six rebounds, three steals. He also went to the foul line seven times and made all attempts.
When the team needed a scoring burst from their players, De Colo stepped up in a huge way. He scored 11 points in the third period alone, where the French added distance against the Philippines.
What’s next for Team France, a matchup with New Zealand. Parker and De Colo will certainly be marked men once the teams meet.