06 - 21
August 2016
9 Tony Parker (FRA)
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France's Parker - 'Mission accomplished'

MANILA (2016 Rio Olympics) - Tony Parker added to his growing legend in international basketball by hitting some shots in the clutch on Sunday to help France beat Canada in the Final of the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) in Manila and clinch a spot in the Rio de Janeiro Games.

Parker, who last year became the EuroBasket's all-time leading scorer, averaged 13.8 points and hit key shots from long range in Manila. He was 3 of 7 from the arc in France's 93-84 tournament-opening win over the Philippines and 3 of 5 from 3-point land in the 83-74 triumph over Canada.

After sealing a second consecutive qualification for the Olympics, Parker, whose wife is expecting to give birth to the couple's second child any day now, gave this interview to L'Equipe.

Question: More than anything, you wanted to qualify for the Olympics.
Parker: I am so happy. I was really looking forward to this game, I wanted to save my energy for the Final. I knew we would have to face two Canadian guards that are very aggressive (Cory Joseph and Tyler Ennis). I gave everything. The bench stepped up in Saturday's Semi-Final and that allowed me to save my energy for the Final. I didn't want to give Canada any chances. I wanted to make every shot. I was very aggressive on the court. When I see the smile on the faces of my team-mates on the bench when I turn around after (hitting) the 3-pointer that seals it... it's a dream finish for our generation and for my (national team) career. Mission accomplished. Now I can savor it.

Question: You've played in a lot of big games. Where does this one rank?
Parker: This one had a special feeling about it as I'm not 20 anymore and I'm nearing the end. This win allows the adventure to continue.

Question: Will the goal at Rio 2016 be to finish with a medal?
Parker: The Quarter-Final defeat at London 2012 (66-59 against Spain) has stayed with us. We have a chance to get a medal. We know how things turned out in 2012 and we have a talented team. It's going to be very close. There isn't going to be much in it in the battle for a medal, in those knockout games.

Question: Would you like to be the flagbearer of France's Olympic delegation?
Parker: Of course I would like to be flagbearer but it's not for me to decide. No basketball player has ever done it (for France) and I'd like to represent my country. Everyone knows about the pride I take in wearing this jersey. It would be an incredible honor.

Question: Is there something different about this team?
Parker: The atmosphere. There's always a good atmosphere but I get the feeling that my team-mates want Flo (Florent Pietrus), Mike (Mickael Gelabale) and I to finish on a high. Everyone is giving their all, everyone is highly motivated.

Question: Do you need to change the roster that achieved qualification in light of Rio, to re-integrate Rudy Gobert?
Parker: Yes we need Rudy, we need a presence inside even if they [all the big men that played in Manila] have all done an amazing job and given everything. We know that against the USA, Serbia and Spain, we'll need a big man. But that's for coach (Vincent Collet) to decide. I hope he chooses Rudy.