WORDS could not express how tough Team Pilipinas' 78-70 meltdown to Iran was, and Gabe Norwood just shook his head in frustration.
"Dejected. Frustrated. Disappointed. All of those. But there's no one to blame but ourselves," rued the Gilas team captain on Monday as the country went 0-2 in its homestand this fifth window.
"We had our opportunities. It was two winnable games, and kudos to Kazakhstan and Iran, they both came out, made big shots, made big plays, and they were ready."
Heavily favored against the Kazakhs on Friday, the Nationals delivered a dud and settled for a 92-88 defeat.
The Philippines played a lot better on Monday against Iran but squandered an eight-point fourth quarter lead.
Three-point shooting was a little better in the Iran game from the Kazakhstan duel, from 34.8-percent to 35-percent, and the Nationals also rebounded the ball better, from 35 boards to 42.
Aside from the numbers, the Filipinos also had a better feel for the game, showing impeccable aggressiveness and energy against the mighty Iranians.
But Norwood stresses that they need to translate those efforts into wins.
"Tonight, the effort was there. We came out executed a lot better compared to our last game. So in that sense, the improvement to one game to the next is uplifting. But at the same time, but if you're not winning games, it's not the plan," said the veteran national team campaigner.
All hope is still not lost for the Philippines as it remains in the running for a berth in the 2019 Fiba World Cup next year in China.
Norwood, though, knows that Gilas, standing at 5-5 in Group F, need those victories in the sixth window come February and they need them bad.
"Like I said, no one to blame but ourselves. All I know is we need to win two games and I'm not sure if that would be enough," he said as he wishes for a better draw come those last qualifying games against Qatar and Kazakhstan.
"We got a couple of months to figure things out and the best plan is to get us ready. Then, we'll go from there."