Gilas loss to Palestine should be a wake-up call, says Norwood
CHANGSHA City, China – “Man, it was quiet there. Too quiet.”
Gabe Norwood was talking of the mood inside the Gilas Pilipinas locker room, minutes after the highly-touted Filipinos took an upset 73-75 defeat at the hands of unknown Palestine at the start of the Fiba Asia Olympic Qualifier on Wednesday afternoon.
“It was tough, you know,” said the veteran internationalist after the Philippines’ chances of topping Group B in preliminary round play became wafer thin.
Having been to so many jousts, Norwood, though, was quick to adjust his mindset.
“The thing to do now is we have to treat this as a wake up call,” said the 6-foot-5 off-guard, who had four rebounds and three points in more than 15 minutes. “Our approach now would have to be to take this loss as a blessing because it came this early in the tournament.
“We can’t lose a game like this late (during the second round of group play),” he said.
The Filipinos still have two games left in their schedule, the first against Hong Kong at 9:45 a.m. on Thursday and the last versus Kuwait on Friday.
And nothing less than a sweep could safely shove the Filipinos into the next phase of group play, where the top three qualifiers of their group will join the top three coming from Group A where defending champion Iran belongs together with Japan, India and Malaysia.
Losing early in tournaments is not alien to Gilas Pilipinas.
In 2012, the Filipinos lost to Lebanon early but went on to win the Jones Cup over the United States. The following year, Gilas took a tumble in the first round of group play against Chinese Taipei in the Fiba Asia but went on to play in the title match before losing to Iran.
“Yes, it should be a wake-up call for us,” Norwood said, before making his way to the team bus.