HE didn’t have to stand out to shine.
Gabe Norwood underlined his value to Gilas Pilipinas with a stealthy solid showing on both ends in their 81-70 win over Iran in a tune-up match on Wednesday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The Rain or Shine utility man was scoreless after missing his two shots and registered just one rebound, although he had two assists and two blocks against only one turnover in 23 minutes.
But the 6-foot-5 cager was a plus-22 – the highest among his teammates – in the plus-minus department, an advanced statistic that measures the success of a team when a player is on the court.
Coach Tab Baldwin made special mention of the utility player in the post-game conference when reporters were asking about Ryan Reyes, Ray Parks, and Japeth Aguilar.
“Let's spare a thought to that stat sheet and what it says about Gabe Norwood,” the national coach said. “Have a look at his points and have a look at his plus minus. If you want see a guy that makes a quiet contribution, that's Gabe Norwood.”
While Reyes, Parks, and Aguilar scored 12 points each to support Andray Blatche and all came through in their own ways, Norwood delivered intangibles all over the court that didn't escape the eyes of Baldwin.
“We gotta have players like that,” Baldwin said. “We don't just have to have stars. We have to have guys that are stars within the team, not just outside the team. And Gabe is certainly the star in our locker room. No question about that.”
And that affixed his place in the 14-man lineup for the European training camp.
"It’s always nice to be recognized, but now that is something I have to own and bring every single game practice and game," Norwood told Spin.ph. "Tune-up wins are nice, but we want that trip to Rio more than anything."