Athletic big man Japeth Aguilar, defense-minded guard Ryan Reyes and versatile wingman Ray Parks dished out solid performances in Gilas Pilipinas’ 81-70 victory over three-time Asian titlist Iran on Wednesday night and were clearly the toasts among the viewers and fans.
Gilas Pilipinas coach Tab Baldwin, however, took some precious time during the post-game press conference to note how valuable forward Gabe Norwood truly is.
“Let’s spare a thought too for that stat sheet what it says about Gabe Norwood,” said the American-Kiwi coach of the Rain or Shine wingman, who had a plus-22 in efficiency rating despite going scoreless and collecting two assists, as many blocks and a rebound against a lone error in more than 23 minutes of play as a starter.
“I don’t know if anybody picked it up, but you sure should. Have a look at his points, have a look at his plus minus. If you wanna see a guy that makes a quiet contribution, that’s Gabe Norwood.”
The 6-foot-5 Norwood, 31, didn’t make his presence felt offensively but made a commendable defensive job against Iran’s star forward Mohammad Jamshidi, who struggled in the early goings before finishing with eight points on just 4-of-10 shooting that went with seven assists and three rebounds in 30 minutes of play.
Although Norwood won’t deliver big numbers offensively on a regular basis, Baldwin, 58, is convinced the former George Mason U standout remains a big piece on the Gilas’ puzzle for his team play and defensive intensity.
“We need guys like that. We don’t have to have just stars, we have to have guys who are stars within the team, not just outside the team. Gabe is certainly a star in our locker room, no question about that,” he said. – By Jerome Lagunzad
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