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Tiebreaker Times

2016 Manila OQT

Batum cleared to play for France-Turkey semis tilt

After days of waiting for his contract with the Charlotte Bobcats to be signed, French wingman Nicolas Batum has been cleared to play in the 2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

Les Bleus head coach Vincent Collet confirmed the news Thursday evening after France’s come-from-behind win against New Zealand that gave the French the top seed in Group B.

“He will be playing,” Collet confirmed.

Batum was supposed to play in the game against the Kiwis, the French mentor shared, but his contract with the American club team had yet to be validated. He will be staying in Charlotte for the next five years with a contract worth $120M.

Batum is averaging 12.5 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 1.5 assists in FIBA-sanctioned tournaments.

Batum enjoying the Philippines

Batum, 27, arrived in Manila early Tuesday morning. Even if he has yet to suit up for the Les Bleus, Batum made the most of his time in enjoying his first trip to Manila.

“I love it here. This country and this people love the game of basketball,” Batum said about the hosts and the Filipino people. “But I haven’t seen the sun yet.”

No one was more happy to finally have Batum back on the court than French teammates Boris Diaw and Tony Parker.

“It’s good that Nicolas can play now,” France skipper Diaw sad. “He brings size and athleticism so we’re happy to have him.”

“I’m very happy that Nico (Batum) is here,” Parker added.

#ReadMore  Fajardo excited for OQT
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