MANILA, Philippines – Two former Gilas Pilipinas members witnessed a new generation bring pride to the country on Thursday, May 18, and they couldn't be prouder.
Gabe Norwood and Ranidel De Ocampo were on hand as the Philippines breezed past Indonesia, 97-64, to secure the 2017 SEABA Men's Championship gold and the accompanying FIBA Asia Cup and Asian Qualifiers slots.
"They put on a show," said Norwood, a defensive ace for Gilas who immortalized himself as the Filipino who posterized NBA vet Luis Scola of Argentina in 2014.
"It's easy to say they're gonna win it but to go out and do it is another thing. They went out, played well. I'm excited to see what's in the future for them."
De Ocampo, relied upon for his outside shot and versatility during his time, took it as a positive sign that Gilas blew out all 6 of its opponents, winning by an average margin of 58.67 points.
"Sobrang importante nila na manalo tayo na lagi malalaking lamang kasi nakukuha natin 'yung respeto, napapatunayan natin 'yung kalidad natin sa basketball, 'yung pride natin laging nandiyan napapanatili," the TNT big man said.
(It's very important that we win by huge margins because we gain respect, we prove our quality of basketball, and our pride is upheld.)
Ranidel De Ocampo is out here watching this game, and cheering "puso!" in response to the "Laban Pilipinas" call #SEABA2017 pic.twitter.com/mMMZlpak5H — Jane Bracher (@janebracher) May 18, 2017
Norwood enjoyed watching the vaunted combination of naturalized center Andray Blatche and June Mar Fajardo be exploited through the tournament. But he was also impressed with the multi-faceted Troy Rosario.
"I've been a fan of Troy since he joined us a couple of years ago. I think the sky is the limit for him in terms of his versatility and the things he can do," the Rain or Shine swingman explained.
"But all in all, as long as everybody does what got them in the team, that'll be a big help for the team.
Gilas now looks ahead to the FIBA Asia Cup and the Asian Qualifiers, where they will face Asia's best and biggest, including new additions Australia and New Zealand.
Having experienced the World Cup himself, Norwood is optimistic this new generation of Gilas players will only improve over the years leading up to 2019 and 2020.
"I think this is part of the process, you can't be ready for the World Cup today, it's about making it tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day after that," he said. "I think this is the great place to start and sky is the limit." – Rappler.com