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Tiebreaker Times

Gabe Norwood to play power forward in absence of injured Jervy Cruz

For the next three weeks, Rain or Shine will maximize Gabe Norwood’s athleticism in hopes of covering the power forward spot vacated by the injured Jervy Cruz.

Cruz hurt his calf muscle during the Elasto Painters’ victory over the Meralco Bolts.

This leaves a big hole in Rain or Shine’s frontline. The team has been rotating Beau Belga and JR Quiñahan in playing the center spot while keeping 6-foot-7 sophomore Raymond Almazan manning the No. 4 spot.

But Almazan needs a back up, and Norwood’s versatility of playing almost all positions will be put to test for several days as Rain or Shine hopes to keep the streak going.

“I did it last game, and I’ve played the four numerous times in the past.”

The team has won its last three games, but the rotation up front will be visibly affected with Cruz sidelined.

This will force Norwood, a 6-foot-5 athletic guard, to play the power forward spot for quite some time. Long and athletic, the former Rookie of the Year is capable of playing the No. 4 spot on a temporary basis.

Rain or Shine won its last three games by displaying unselfish basketball, a trademark that made the squad one of the most successful teams last season, leading to the squad’s entry to the finals in two of the three conferences.

“We were No. 1 before, and last year, we were No. 2 so I don’t think it’s an accomplishment. But we were able to move the ball well the past three games and against Meralco, we had 32 assists,” said head coach Yeng Guiao.

But if there’s one aspect the team hopes to improve on, it’s rebounding.

“We cannot allow any team to beat us by more than 30 rebounds. We know we’re not a big, athletic team but we cannot afford to give them more than 30 rebounds against us,” he added. “If we want to start winning, we need to win the battle of the boards.”

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