Gabe Norwood has long been the epitome of composure in his 11-year career in the PBA.
But in Game Four of his Rain or Shine Elasto Painters’ 2019 Philippine Cup semifinal clash with the Magnolia Hotshots on Monday night, he showed that he’s only human.
With 2:06 left in the second frame, Norwood snapped, complaining profusely to the referees that the ball should’ve stayed with Rain or Shine. He asserted it was Paul Lee who had the last touch when the latter stripped the ball away as Norwood attempted to finish a fastbreak opportunity with a lay-up.
He instead incurred a technical foul for disrespectfully addressing an official.
“Emotions got the best of me,” admitted the 11-year league veteran, who cooled down after the rare technical. “I felt the call wasn’t correct.
“But I’m not the ref so I got a technical as I deserve, and we moved on from there.”
Norwood suffered two blows that night, as the Elasto Painters lost narrowly, 91-94. The best-of-seven series is now down to a virtual best-of-three, tied at two games apiece.
Still, the 34-year-old remains proud despite the loss, praising the way Rain or Shine fought back in the game. The Elasto Painters rallied back from a deep 21-point deficit to come within just a point, with four ticks left.
“I’m proud of our team,” the two-time champion said.
“To come out and start the fourth quarter down [by sixteen points]; and to compete the way we did and to continue to believe with one another… I think that’s a sign of a team that trusts one another. And we’ll do great things,” he added.
The way they closed out Game Four was a far cry from last week’s Game Three, where they only had 11 fourth-quarter points. Given this, Norwood is optimistic of their chances in the pivotal Game Five this Wednesday at the Cuneta Astrodome.
“Outside of our last game in the fourth quarter and how we played and this one how we finished the game, I’m optimistic,” he said. “I think everybody came out healthy – we’re not banged up nor bruised. We’re ready to go.
“With the way we finished, everybody has a positive mindset.”