Nic Batum on his first game in the Manila OQT, France’s bench, Edwin Jackson: pic.twitter.com/VDhbXTHdBn
— LVJ (@levijoshua) July 10, 2016
After skipping France’s first two games, Les Bleus forward Nicolas Batum finally saw action in the 2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Manila, Philippines.
France defeated Turkey, 75-63, in the semifinal on Saturday night. Batum had only three points on three foul shots in 21:29, and went 0-for-3 from the field.
Batum, who recently signed a contract with the Charlotte Hornets, said he had just been getting accustomed to being on the floor.
“I just need one game to get back to the feeling of the game and get back my rhythm and I didn’t want to force anything tonight. I just wanted to help my team as much as I can,” Batum shared, adding that the final against Canada will be a difficult assignment for the team.
“It’s going to be a huge game. They got a great team, young team, well-coached.”
Batum also talked about France’s bench, which scored 42 points against Turkey to once again give the team a lift.
“All the guys that came off the bench have been huge for us. Guys like Thomas Heurtel, Gelabale, Antoine Diot, all those guys,” he said.
“They’ve been huge for us, they won the game for us. There’s a chance with this team if you have 12 guys who can play.”
Batum then praised France reserve Edwin Jackson, who trained with the team despite not assured of playing time in the tournament.
“That’s why he’s a great player, a great friend. The guy, he knew he won’t play in this tournament but he wanted to come there and help us practice, walk with us, keep supporting us no matter what. He’s one of the best teammates I’ve ever had,” Batum said.