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2016 Manila OQT

Nash proud of upstart Canadian team’s OQT run

Canadian men’s national basketball team general manager Steve Nash said in a press conference on Friday that he is proud of the squad participating in the 2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

Nash shared that putting together a competitive team for the OQT with many unavailable players has been a difficult process for Canada Basketball.

“It was hard. Obviously we have some players that aren’t with us, but we worked really hard to get some of the guys that are here actually here,” Nash said.

“It’s not an easy landscape in Canada. We have some challenges with our young program, but we’re proud of the team that’s here.”

But the former two-time NBA MVP added that the current roster has shown good cohesiveness in the tournament so far.FIBA-OQT-Day-1-Canada-vs.-Turkey-Tristan-Thompson-6315 Nash proud of upstart Canadian team's OQT run 2016 Manila OQT Basketball Canada News  - philippine sports news

“We don’t have as much scoring ability as we had last summer but we’re a very good defensive team, I think we’re really tough physically and I think in some ways we’re better than last summer, in some ways we’re not as good,” he said.

“But I would be proud to be a part of this team any time, any where because I think they play hard, they’re unselfish, and they work together.”

With analysts pegging France and Canada as the favorites to advance to the Manila OQT Final, Nash said that if ever his young squad gets a chance to face Tony Parker for one final time, it would be a proud moment.

“We have a very young team, and for them to get those types of experiences along the way here, maybe they can have careers like Tony and Boris (Diaw) have had internationally, if they get those opportunities,” he shared.

“So we’ll be humble, we’ll work hard, and see if we can get ourselves an opportunity to play against a great French team.”

“I’m very good friends with both Boris and Tony. I mean I have a lot of respect for them as players and people. They’re the favorites. For us, we’re looking at the opportunity to play them, hopefully, and that’s all we can ask for. The opportunity,” Nash added.

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“I would be obviously proud for our guys to get a chance to play against two great players like that, who have represented their country for a long time and accomplished so much.”

Canada will play New Zealand on Saturday in the semi-finals while France battle Turkey.

The Canadian Road Warriors beyond 2016

FIBA-OQT-Day-1-Canada-vs.-Turkey-Cory-Joseph-6329-2 Nash proud of upstart Canadian team's OQT run 2016 Manila OQT Basketball Canada News  - philippine sports news

Looking ahead, Nash said the new FIBA qualification format for the 2019 World Cup and 2020 Olympics will be “tricky” for the team, but the team will try to “figure it out.”

“A lot of our talent is in the NBA now, and that makes it difficult. So we’re gonna have to have a big squad, a squad of European players and college players, whatever means that possible,” he said.

“I’m not even sure a college player can play in a tournament like that. It’s a new landscape.”

“We’re gonna have to figure it out, but we’re definitely going to have to have a bigger, deeper squad of players or pool of players that we can draw upon.”

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