ANTIPOLO CITY - The familiar figure of Iwad Qahwash brought back memories to Gabe Norwood, albeit a not so good one.
The Rain or Shine guard still vividly remembers the stunning 75-73 loss Gilas Pilipinas suffered in the opener of the Fiba Asia Men’s Championship last year against Palestine, a team which had Qahwash as one of the starters.
On Friday night, Norwood got some sort of payback against the debuting Palestine guard as Rain or Shine eked out a 98-92 victory over Blackwater in the PBA Governors Cup at the Ynares Center here.
“It’s nice to come out with a win,” said Norwood when reminded about the heartbreaking loss the national team suffered against Palestine to open its campaign in the qualifier for the Riol De Janeiro Olympics.
Norwood said he already put the heartbreaking loss by Gilas to the underdog Palestine even during the course of the tournament, where the Filipinos finished a strong runner-up behind champion China that earned them a berth in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament, which the country hosted recently.
“Not too much. Even when we’re in the tournament you put it behind you right away and just keep playing,” he said. “It’s definitely one that I’m sure that if I see more of the guys from their team they’ll bring it up and let me know.”
There were no hi’s and hello’s between the two. The Gilas Pilipinas team captain even disclosed that he was actually unaware the 28-year-old Qahwash will be playing in his first game in the league against the Elasto Painters.
“Me and Maverick (Ahanmisi) were talking at the bench and kind of surprise that he’s coming in,” he said the Palestine guard, who was scoreless in his Blackwater debut (0 of 3), but had four rebounds and three assists in 14 minutes of play.
“It’s kind of surprise. We forgot that he’s coming in. So it was a pleasant surprise.”
But from the looks of it, Norwood said the US-bred Qahwash is still trying to adjust with the Elite, who he believes will really benefit the most once the Palestinian finally get into his playing rhythm.
“I think he’s still adjusting. He’s a solid player and I think he’ll help Blackwater a lot,” said the Rain or Shine veteran.