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Gabe Norwood on World Cup-ticket sealing block: ‘It’s just second effort’

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Tiebreaker Times Gabe Norwood on World Cup-ticket sealing block: 'It's just second effort' Basketball Gilas Pilipinas News  South Korea (Basketball) Kim Mingoo Gilas Pilipinas Men Gabe Norwood 2013 FIBA Asia Cup

Everyone remembers Jimmy Alapag’s dagger triple that virtually punched Gilas Pilipinas’ ticket to the 2014 FIBA World Cup back in August 10, 2013. 

But what sealed the country’s spot in the global meet was Gabe Norwood’s block against Kim Mingoo.

And that block came out of nowhere.

During that game, Kim was absolutely torching Gilas to the tune of 27 points on 9-of-15 shooting from the field, 5-of-11 from distance.

The 6-foot-2 swingman was on fire.

“Kailangan mo dikitan eh. I mean dapat ‘yung mata mo sa kanya lang. And I remember din guarding him kahit naka-challenge ako talagang shumushoot eh,” recalled 6-foot-4 Jeff Chan during a special 2013 Gilas lookback episode of 2OT, presented by SMART Sports and supported by Phenom Sportswear Inc.

“Wala akong magawa eh.”

Though Gilas was holding an 84-79 lead with 54 seconds left, the thousands inside the Mall of Asia Arena and the millions watching at home were still on the edge of their seats.

No lead was safe, especially with Kim still on the floor.

Off a timeout, of course the ball went to Kim’s hands. Tasked to guard him was 6-foot-4 Gabe Norwood.

“I mean that’s the hardest thing to do, defend the hot hand. No matter who’s out there, he’s already got 20 something points in the quarter. It’s gonna be tough to really contest and make him second-guessing,” recalled Norwood.

Kim got the ball from the right elbow and threw a quick pump fake. Norwood, who knows that the South Korean has a quick trigger, bit.

“Got a little off-balanced but I knew my length was able to contest him.”

With no remorse, Kim quickly jacked up a triple.

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With all his might, Norwood was able to use the tip of his fingers to swat the ball away.

This led to another attempt for Gilas. With five seconds left on the shotclock on the other end, Jayson Castro zoomed past his defender and threw a reverse layup. It missed, but fortunately for the hosts, Pingris was there for the putback.

Game, set, World Cup qualified.

“It was just second effort. Got a little off-balanced, but I knew my length was able to contest him. And he kinda shoots the ball kinda low anyway, so I knew I can contest the shot, and just lucky enough I had enough of my hand to the ball,” continued Norwood.

“It was kinda wild!”

After that, Gilas has yet to experience another win against its bitter rivals.

Still, the Philippines will always have that brilliant moment — and right here at home.

“Perfect scenario that we’re at home. Our celebration would have been different if the team we’re playing in Japan, China, or somewhere in the Middle East. But the fact that we’re at home and (inaudible) you see grown men crying, it’s everything,” shared Norwood.

“All of it was just wild and we get caught up in emotions at the time.”

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