Nash commends Canada’s performance in OQT

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Anthony Bennett of Canada battlesfor the ball against the Tall Blacks during the semifinals of the FIBA OlympicQualifying Tournament (OQT) at the Mallof Asia Arena in Pasay City on Saturday.PHOTO BY RUSSEL PALMA

Anthony Bennett of Canada battlesfor the ball against the Tall Blacks during the semifinals of the FIBA OlympicQualifying Tournament (OQT) at the Mallof Asia Arena in Pasay City on Saturday.PHOTO BY RUSSEL PALMA

Two-time National Basketball Association (NBA) Most Valuable Player Canadian Steve Nash said that he is proud of his country’s performance in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) that will culminate today at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

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Nash, 42, thanked Toronto Raptors guard Corey Joseph, Cleveland Cavaliers Tristan Thompson and Milwaukee Bucks Tyler Ennis for agreeing to play for Canada in the OQT.

“It’s tough. We have some players who are not with us and we actually worked very hard to get those players over here. But we are proud of the team that we have here. We don’t have much scoring but we’re very good defensively. We are better than last summer in some ways and some ways we are not,” said Nash, Canada’s team manager.

Among the players who did not make it to the OQT in Manila are Boston’s Kelly Olynyk, Minnesota’s Andre Wiggins, Philadelphia’s Nik Stauskas and Denver’s Jamal Murray.

Nash refused to comment when asked if the said players can still rejoin the team if Canada secured an Olympics berth, “I don’t want to talk about it. We have to focus here. We will reassess the team if ever we qualify for the Olympics.”

Nash was thankful for the Filipinos’ great hospitality and admires their love of basketball.

“This is my first time here and I’m very thankful to the Filipinos for their great hospitality. I will return.”

Nash, who also works as the Golden State Warriors’ players development consultant, shared his thoughts on Kevin Durant’s move to leave Oklahoma Thunder and join the GSW.

“It is a crazy time in the NBA because it’s free agency situation. LeBron [James] moved to Miami many years ago which gave him a chance of winning. And now, Kevin [Durant] did the same. It is exciting and I think it is great for the game.”

Nash said that he is not interested to become a head coach of any NBA team because he prefers to be with his three children.

Nash also offered words of wisdom to the Gilas Pilipinas national team: “They need to be more cohesive and play as a unit. They have great talented players. They have to believe.”

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