GABE Norwood has been under the microscope for his below-par play as Rain or Shine stand on the verge of being swept by Talk 'N Text in the PBA Philippine Cup Finals.
And guess who is the first person to come to his defense? No less than best buddy Sol Mercado.
The high-scoring Meralco Bolts guard, a former teammate and boardmate of Norwood, said the former George Mason University stalwart doesn’t need to score a ton of points to make his presence felt for the Elasto Painters.
While Norwood boasts of a decent offense, doing the intangibles is what makes him an effective player, according to Mercado.
“They’ve always questioned Gab’s capability to dominate... but they don’t appreciate what he has done already,” said Mercado. “Gabe is not the type of player who is a takeover kind of guy, he won’t score 40 points. He’s never been that."
Rather than taking over in scoring, Mercado said Norwood prefers to facilitate the offense, playing defense, and grabbing rebounds.
“Gabe is not a selfish player, he plays team basketball. In college, he’s not a go-to-guy, but he can give everything for the team. Rain or Shine won’t be in the Finals (twice) if not for the help of Gabe,” Mercado emphasized.
The Fil-Am guard also lashed back at Norwood’s detractors saying: “People always look at the box score and says, ‘He only got 9 points?’ but people don’t notice that Gabe makes his teammates better.”
Although he feels for his `brother’ in the best-of-seven title series, Mercado acknowledges Talk `N Text appears to be the better team than Rain or Shine.
“Talk `N Text wins it at the end when Rain or Shine loses composure. They (Elasto Painters) need to play a perfect game to beat Talk n’ Text,” said Mercado.