Sep 10, 2019

Gabe Norwood to fans after disappointing World Cup campaign: 'We feel your pain'

Beaten Gilas Pilipinas returned from the FIBA Basketball World in China still on a positive mood, knowing they did their best against high quality opponents who had clear advantage in size, experience in international play and longer preparation time.

"We went out there and tried to do our best. It might not look the best out there but we're trying to get it right and trying to learn and adjust on the fly," Gilas captain Gabe Norwood said upon the team's arrival from Beijing.

Gilas wound up dead last in the 32-team World Cup after posting an awful 0-5 win-loss record.

The Nationals absorbed massive beatings from European heavyweights Italy and Serbia then lost a close overtime contest to Angola to end the first round before suffered two more blowouts in the classification pool at the hands of Tunisia and Asian rival Iran.

The overall result was a big letdown to Filipino supporters, who were expecting Team Philippines to do better especially coming off the solid outing in the 2014 edition in Spain.

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"We feel your pain and we apologize for putting you through it," Norwood said in a message to fans. "We feel it as much as you do but we have pride, we have confidence and we have got excitement for the future."

Bracing for the backlash, Gilas coach Yeng Guiao said this one's on him, and not on his 12 gallant players.

"I told the players, as long as they did their best, wala ka namang magagawa na eh. Ako na mananagot sa lahat," said Guiao.

"Sabi ko ako na bahala, sasaluhin ko na lahat yan. Pag-uusapan namin ng yan mga bosses. Kung may pagkukulang man, hindi yan pagkukulang ng players; ginawa nila ang lahat ng makakaya nila. Maaaring nasa akin ang pagkukulang," he said.

Guiao said there are lots of lessons to be learned from his bitter episode in Philippine basketball.

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"We need longer preparation time. We need to get out of Asia and get experience versus teams from other zones like Europe or Latin America. Preparing for the World Cup doesn's just take months, the program needs to be set years earlier," noted the veteran tactician.(OL)