Confident after FIBA World Cup, Gilas Pilipinas eyes gold medal in Asian Games
After gaining the admiration of the world with their fighting heart in the FIBA Basketball World Cup, Gilas Pilipinas will once again show their "puso" for the upcoming Asian Games.
Gabe Norwood said he liked the team's chances in the Asiad after the team's World Cup performance.
"There's definitely a big target on our backs now after our performance last year and how we performed in the World Cup," Norwood told Jessica Soho in an interview with State of the Nation.
"I think we have a lot of confidence, not just in ourselves, individually, but as a team."
Gilas Pilipinas failed to advance to the round of 16 in the World Cup, but the team made a tremendous exit with a victory over Senegal in overtime. The squad went home with a 1-4 card with three heartbreaking close games out of four losses.
"Even only winning one game I think we gained a lot of respect," said Norwood, whose poster dunk over Luis Scola of Argentina in the World Cup became one of the iconic images of the Philippine campaign. "I think teams are gonna come out and attack us really hard."
"Hopefully we'll take what we learned in Spain and use that in Korea."
The Philippines qualified for the world stage for the first time in 36 years after a silver-medal finish in the FIBA Asia Championships last year. The team is looking to top that performance, aiming for the gold medal in the Asian Games.
"We definitely want to build on our performance last year and the only opportunity to do that is to win gold," Norwood said.
Stepping up for Blatche
The team is now hard-pressed to prepare for the Asiad without naturalized center Andray Blatche, who was disqualified due to residency rules of the Asian Games.
Another naturalized center, Marcus Douthit took Blatche's position on the team, while Jimmy Alapag decided to postpone his retirement and play one last time for the team.
"Andray has been a great asset to our team and to our country. And I think it's gonna take the whole team to kinda step up and fill his shoes," Norwood said.
Blatched played for the country in the World Cup, averaging 21.2 points per game to rank second in scoring just behind Jose Barea of Puerto Rico. — Marisse Panaligan/JST, GMA News
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