IF you notice a sudden change in Gabe Norwood's game in Rain or Shine's past matches, call it a new start.
The versatile 6-5 Rain or Shine Elastopainter told Spin.ph that he is ‘more motivated now’ to go on attack mode in 2014, partly because of comments from fans questioning his heart and killer's instinct during games.
“You can’t please everybody, but at the end of the day, you gotta take that as motivation and use it to get yourself really better,” said the Fil-American guard out of George Mason University.
They Said It!
“You can’t please everybody, but at the end of the day, you gotta take that as motivation and use it to get yourself really better." - Rain or Shine forward Gabe Norwood
“It (negative comments) somehow motivated me really. But I try not to pay too much attention. I just try to keep working hard,” he added without mentioning the exact rap he read from fans that moved him.
Since joining the league as a top pick in the 2008 rookie draft, Norwood's perceived 'softness' during games has come under fire from fans who feel he has a tendency to step back during crucial stretches of games.
A teammate who requested not to be named even supported the notion of some fans.
“Medyo malambot nga dati si Gabe. May moment na aatake siya, pero biglang aatras para mag jump shot o madalas ipapasa niya sa iba,” said the Rain or Shine player.
“Sana nga magtuloy-tuloy na yung ganung performance. Kaya naman niya,” added the player.
Teammates and Rain or Shine fans have reason to be excited as Norwood, a many-time national player who can play all five positions on the floor, has vowed to be even better this year.
“It’s our team, for myself … I wanna play well and get the confidence of everybody else,” Norwood told Spin.ph. “We’ve been playing well so we have to carry our momentum.
"Everybody has stepped up and everybody has to step up and that’s what it should be,” he added.
In the Elastopainters’ first 10 games of the season, the high-flying Fil-American wingman averaged 7.30 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.2 steals per game, way better than his 5.30-point average the previous season.
With his game on an upswing, Norwood said his biggest motivation is to gift coach Yeng Guiao a first-ever all-Filipino crown which he believes is the most prestigious of the three conference titles in the league.
“I want to give coach Yeng (Guiao) the all-Filipino title, and we want to do that for him," said Norwood, whose team lost to Talk 'N Text via sweep in last season's Philippine Cup finals.
Last year, we were already in the finals. But it didn’t come, we got swept. We don’t want that to happen again. Hopefully this time,” he added.