Boris Diaw, France get feet wet with first Manila practice

Less than 14 hours after arriving in Manila, France got its feet wet in practice on Friday afternoon as the top bets for the upcoming FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament put on a serious game face at the Mall of Asia Arena.

France spent its 2-hour practice working on its half-court set as it began preparing for Gilas Pilipinas, which it will face on opening day of the Olympic qualifying tournament next Tuesday at the Pasay venue.

Big men like San Antonio Spurs forward/center Boris Diaw and Denver Nuggets slotman Joffrey Lauvergne worked on their inside game during the team’s 5-on-5, more with the intention of pounding the ball inside against Gilas should the Frenchmen find the opportunity.

Gilas, led by naturalized player Andray Blatche and local big men Japeth Aguilar and June Mar Fajardo, will surely have their hands full defending France’s beefy and experienced front court next week. — By Richard Dy