Gabe Norwood credits PBA experience of helping him keep in step defending NBA players
Playing against PBA imports with NBA experience has prepared Gabe Norwood playing against the French team led by Portland Trailblazer Nicolas Batum. Jerome Ascano

HIS experience in the PBA somewhat toughened up Gabe Norwood competing against taller and bigger opponents in international competitions.

Norwood didn’t find it hard going up against a France team mostly made up of NBA players as the experience of playing imports in the PBA on a regular basis prepared him for duels like the one Gilas Pilipinas had Friday in the 2014 Antibes International Tournament.

The lanky but athletic Rain or Shine guard found himself taking on Portland Trailblazer Nicolas Batum mostly during defensive switches in Gilas' close 68-75 loss to France in the four-nation pocket tournament.

“What's going through my mind is do my job and stick to the game plan,” Norwood told“Good thing about the PBA is the league attracts NBA-caliber imports. So guarding someone from "the league" (NBA) isn't anything new.”

The 6-foot-5 Norwood, a three-time All-Defensive team member, said since Gilas is an undersized team and the only way to compete against world-class competition is to defend the best it could.

"Your game plan for them (French team) is just like your game plan against anyone in the PBA,” explained the former George Mason University stalwart.

Even Ranidel de Ocampo said he's happy to have gone up against another NBA veteran in Boris Diaw.

“Okay naman. Kahit papano proud at nakalaro ko si Diaw at naipakita natin ang laro ng Pinoy laban sa champion ng Europe," said De Ocampo, who nailed a three-point shot in the face of Diaw at one point in the second half.

Diaw was a vital cog in San Antonio Spurs’ NBA championship run.

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