Norwood: Pinoys can play world-class hoops

Veteran Gilas Pilipinas member Gabe Norwood said the time is right to show the world that Filipinos have world-class basketball skills.

Norwood, a member of the national basketball team since 2007, is bracing for his second International Basketball Federation (FIBA) World Cup stint, as Gilas Pilipinas plunge into action in the quadrennial meet that will run from August 31 to September 15 in Foshan, China.

“We want to go all out and prove to the world that we belong [to elite basketball] and continue to make our country proud. So, I think everybody is really anxious and excited to get started,” the Rain or Shine swingman told reporters on Wednesday after the team’s last practice at the Meralco gym.

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“Just go along with the fun. I’m blessed that I’m still here and part of the program and collecting jerseys all the way. It is exciting time for the country and for ourselves,” he added.

Under former Gilas coach Chot Reyes, Norwood has fond memories of his first World Cup stint in Spain five years ago. One was when he dunked over National Basketball Association player Luis Scola of Argentina during the preliminary round.

The Filipinos lost though to the Argentinians — 81-85.

The 6-foot-6 Norwood hopes to repeat the feat this time around.

“I hope so. If I have two more posters this time, I’ll be shocking myself more than anybody else. Lord willing, if I get those opportunities, I will take advantage of them again.

Norwood advised his younger teammates CJ Perez, Kiefer Ravena, Robert Bolick and Roger Pogoy to just go with the flow and have fun.

“Enjoy it, just embrace it and have fun,” added the former 2008 Philippine Basketball Association top overall pick.

Other members of the team are Troy Rosario, Japeth Aguilar, Raymund Almazan, Mark Barroca and Paul Lee.

Coach Yeng Guiao and the rest of Gilas Pilipinas arrived in China Thursday afternoon. The Philippines will face Italy on Saturday, the 2016 Olympic silver medalist Serbia on Monday and Angola on Wednesday.

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