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Canada plan several friendlies ahead of Manila OQT
TORONTO (2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments) - Canada will need to be turning on all cylinders by 5 July, when they arrive in Manila, the Philippines, to launch their FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) campaign against Turkey.
To get ready for that game, the one against Senegal the following day and potential clashes with France, the Philippines and New Zealand, coach Jay Triano will lead the team in several friendlies. Canada have announced they will have two warm-up games against Croatia, one against China and another against Puerto Rico. The national team will also take on another unnamed opponent in a friendly while in Europe.
Triano knows that the build-up for Canada is going to be crucial if they are to win the OQT and book a place in Rio de Janeiro. There are not going to be any easy games in Manila.
We're looking forward to getting together in June to begin preparations for Manila. We have a tough competition ahead and are focusing on gaining as much international game experience as possible for our team. - Triano
Canada, who have yet to name their preliminary squad for the OQT, nearly qualified directly for the Olympics last year but lost a narrow Semi-Final to Venezuela at the FIBA Americas Championship in Mexico City.
They put that disappointment behind them by edging Mexico in a thrilling battle for third place to reach the podium. Cory Joseph sealed the victory with a shot at the buzzer.
To get ready for the OQT, Canada will gather for a week of training on 10 June in Toronto. The squad will then leave for Europe and take part in an exhibition tournament in Italy, arriving in the country on 17 June.
Their friendly games against Croatia will be on 20 June and 23 June. Two days later will be a clash with China, following by a game the next day against an opponent that is still to be confirmed. Canada's last friendly will be against Puerto Rico. They will take on the Boricuas on 29 June before leaving for the Philippines.
Canada, meanwhile, have announced that Dave Smart, David Vanterpool and Bryan Gates will serve as assistant coaches to Triano.