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    Gabe Norwood slam over Scola nominated for Fiba Dunk of the Decade

    Jun 11, 2020
    PHOTO: Fiba.com

    THIS one will bring up memories anew for Argentina national team veteran Luis Scola.

    The one-handed dunk of Gilas Pilipinas guard Gabe Norwood off Scola’s outstretched arms during the 2014 World Cup in Spain has been nominated by FIBA for its Dunk of the Decade.

    That memorable Norwood dunk is vying against 31 other entries, including high-wire acts pulled off by NBA stars Giannis Antetokounmpo of Greece, Luca Doncic of Slovenia, Rudy Gobert of France, and Americans Jaylen Brown and James Harden.

    Looking back six years after since the highlight-reel play went viral, the Rain or Shine stalwart felt Scola took everything personally.

    “We all stayed in the same hotel, so we all saw each other everyday in breakfast, lunch, dinner, it didn’t matter. But I don’t think Escola made eye contact with me the rest of the tournament,” said the 35-year-old Fil-Am guard.

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    The stint marked the Philippines’ return to the world championship after a long 36-year absence that it thrilled the basketball-crazy Filipinos no end upon seeing Norwood posterize an NBA player of Scola’s caliber before a huge worldwide audience.

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    “I don’t think he (Escola) understood the love of the game of the Philippines and how much that one game would stick to him for a little while,” Norwood stressed.

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    Scola, then under contract with the Indiana Pacers, managed to redeem himself from that play as he scored a team-high 19 points to help Argentina avert a king-sized upset with an 85-81 win over Gilas.

    But that single Norwood play would forever be etched as one of the most famous plays in FIBA history.

    “It’s funny because if it is his birthday and FIBA would do a shoutout for him, people in the comment section would tag me (showing that video),” said Norwood.

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    One of the most iconic plays in Philippine basketball lore however, faces tough competition from 31 other slam dunks from various FIBA-sanctioned tournaments around the world from 2011 to 2019.

    The list include Brown’s windmill dunk during the 2019 FIBA World Cup, the coast-to-coast, one-handed slam of Doncic in the 2017 FIBA EuroBasket, Antetokounmpo slamming home the ball off a quick turnaround also in last year’s World Cup, as well as Chimezie Metu of Nigeria stuffing the ball hard against Chinese 7-footer Yi Jianlian in the same World Cup meet.

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    For all his dribbling and shooting ability, Harden also has an entry via an explosive baseline two-handed dunk against New Zealand in the 2014 World Cup, along with Gobert’s electrifying alley-oop play courtesy of Tony Parker for France during the 2015 FIBA EuroBasket before a roaring homecrowd of 27,000 at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy.

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    PHOTO: Fiba.com
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