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5 Nicolas BATUM (France)
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Confirmed - Nicolas Batum going to Manila for OQT

MANILA (2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments) - After weeks of speculation and going back-and-forth, NBA star Nicolas Batum is now formally joining France in Manila for the 2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) this week.

The status of Batum's inclusion in the final roster of Les Bleus was in the air for some time, and it seemed he was going to be a no-show until, at the 11th hour, he put all doubt to rest when he posted a picture of his passport and his leaving for the Philippine capital.

Batum, of course, will be a difference-maker for the French, who are the favorites to rule the Manila OQT and book its lone ticket to the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil.

Batum has been at the forefront of France’s national basketball team for the past several years. He has, in fact, played for Les Bleus in every year since Eurobasket 2009. His best performance came in the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup, where he averaged 14.6 points and 3.1 rebounds per game, helping France to a podium finish. For his efforts, Batum was named part of the All-Tournament Team.

In Manila, Batum will team up with fellow veterans Boris Diaw and Tony Parker to help spearhead their #MissionRio campaign. France play hosts Philippines on opening night, July 5, and take on fellow Group A team New Zealand on Thursday, July 7.