GABE Norwood reiterated how coach Chot Reyes and the rest of Gilas Pilipinas wanted badly to win its 27th Fiba-Asia Men’s Championship game against Chinese-Taipei for the sake of the Overseas Contract Workers (OFWs) in Taiwan.
Norwood, who was again among the bright spots in the nationals’ 79-84 loss to the Taiwanese Saturday night, bared how Reyes tried to motivate the team to go for a win that would be its way of honoring thousands of Filipinos currently working in Taipei.
“That was part of our prayer before the game,” said Norwood, who finished with nine points, four rebounds, and three assists in the heartbreaking setback. “We wanted to get out and get a sense of pride to those over there in Taiwan.”
Norwood hopes the nationals didn’t disappoint the fans even in defeat.
“But hopefully, we still made them proud. Lord willing, maybe we can get another chance at Taipei later on,” he said.
Reyes earlier apologized to this basketball-loving country for failing to win the game on behalf of the OCWs working in Chinese Taipei.
“I want to apologize to our countrymen in Taiwan and for our OFWs,” Reyes said. “We really wanted to win the game for them because I know that they have been victims of a lot of abuse. We really dedicated the game to them.”
“Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out the way we wanted,” added the forlorn coach, who even banged the presidential table with his hand during the post-game interview in extreme frustration.
OCWs in Chinese Taipei failed to get the chance to see Gilas in action during the recent Jones Cup basketball tournament as local organizers couldn’t assure the team’s security due to the diplomatic tension between the two countries.
The nationals were the reigning Jones Cup champion but failed to defend their title following the incident.