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    Norwood, PH team eager to prove they're better than what they showed in tuneups

    Nov 27, 2018
    PHOTO: jerome ascaño

    GABE Norwood understands the public taking caution on Team Pilipinas' chances in the fifth window of the 2019 Fiba World Cup Asian qualifiers, especially after going 1-3 in its tuneup games against Jordan and Lebanon last week.

    But the team captain is hardly worried.

    "Naturally, everybody is a fan and everybody wants to see the best and we're the same. But at the end of the day, we still don't know the 12 players that will be out there on the court and how things are going to work," he said.

    National team coach Yeng Guiao made the most of his chances to figure out possible combinations and rotations through the four exhibition games last week, trotting out various lineups to varying results.

    Norwood knows that the pressure is piling on for Team Pilipinas after its supbar performance in those exhibition games.

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      But he has his full trust on Guiao's system and the talent of the players in the 20-man pool that they can prove that they are better than their performance in those tuneup games.

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      "I think now, it's about being anxious to prove ourselves that we are better than what we put out during those four games," he said, unmindful of the heavy fanfare the group has garnered in the buildup for the fifth window.

      "I don't know how many of us pay attention to the hype, but our main concern is to find a way to win. Everyone's coming in and are just professionals and we understood that we weren't able to get it done in terms of execution and sticking to the gameplan."

      So far, Norwood has seen tremendous leaps in improvement as Team Pilipinas enters the homestretch of its preparations.

      "Actually, the last two days have been good here in practice. Everybody's just focused on what we have to do and that's a sign of improvement and not frustration," he said.

      "Right now, we are just focused on getting to the same page and everyone is buying into it."

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      The Philippines meets Kazakhstan on Friday at Mall of Asia Arena in the first of its two home games, before facing Iran on Monday.

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      PHOTO: jerome ascaño
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