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Gilas watches as France, New Zealand clash.
Provided it comes out victorious last night, Gilas Pilipinas will be an interested observer tonight as France and New Zealand clash in a key Group B battle in the final elimination round doubleheader of the Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) at the Mall of Asia Arena.
France and New Zealand collide at 9 p.m. with both teams needing to win to confirm their place in the semifinals of the Manila leg of the Rio Olympics qualifier.
Should it beat New Zealand at presstime, Gilas would hope for Tony Parker, Boris Diaw and Nando de Colo to beat the Kiwis in order to advance to Saturday’s semifinals.
France gained an early edge to qualify for the semis after a hard-fought 93-84 victory over Gilas that saw former NBA player de Colo of Russian club CSKA Moscow firing 27 points and Parker adding 21 markers.
Gilas coach Tab Baldwin praised the French guards for dictating the flow of the contest which the host nation, leading by 10 points in the first half, lost control over due to turnovers in the dying minutes.
New Zealand, on the other hand, is aiming to secure a similar result and end the Filipinos’ bid of making the Olympics for the first time since 1972 Munich Games.