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Norwood lists FIBA Asia Cup 2007 squad as ''on paper, probably the best national team ever'' – FIBA

MANILA (Philippines) – Gabe Norwood has been the face of Philippines basketball in the FIBA Asia Cup. Norwood has played in 40 Asia Cup games, the most for the proud basketball nation since the turn of the millennium.
Those games span across playing in five Asia Cups alongside legends like Jimmy Alapag and mentoring up-and-coming talents like Terrence Romeo. Of all those highly regarded squads, one stands out in Gabe’s memory as the best – in a specific way.
“I was a college kid, finished my last game, tried out for the RP Team, and I didn’t even walk in my graduation. I came out and played in Tokushima with, on paper, probably the best national team ever,” said Norwood in his GOAT sessions as reported by Spin.PH.

22-year-old Norwood was the youngest player on that team, fresh off a run to the Final Four in the NCAA Tournament playing with George Mason University. He played 20 minutes in his Asia Cup debut against the eventual champions, Iran, and recorded 4 points and 5 rebounds before fouling out of the game.
The Philippines were coming off missing Asia Cup 2005 due to a suspension on the federation and built up a talented squad from top to bottom for 2007 in Japan. Aside from Norwood himself, this Philippines national team featured eight other talents who had previous experience playing outside of the country, including Alapag, Danny Seigle, Mark Caguioa, Asi Taulava, Mick Pennisi, Jayjay Helterbrand, Eric Menk, and fellow young gun Kelly Williams.
“Me and Kelly Williams were the young guys,” added Norwood.

With five players averaging at least 9 points per contest, it’s not hard to see why Norwood considers this the best national team ever on paper. After their opening loss to Iran, the Philippines also lost to a solid team in Jordan a few days later, putting them out of contention for a trip to the Quarter-Finals. However, the Philippines were able to salvage two wins over China, including a 78-76 win for 9th place.
Surprisingly enough, none of the players from the 2007 squad made it to Norwood’s Asia Cup Dream Team when he named Samad Nikkahbahrami (IRI) and Fadi El Khatib (LBN) to go with fellow countrymen Jayson Castro, Ranidel De Ocampo, and Andray Blatche.
Gabe Norwood names his Asia Cup Dream team #FIBAAsiaCup2017

🔗 https://t.co/dvHR7E5xtQ pic.twitter.com/CvyfLRTOml
Asia Cup 2007 was the start of a long and legendary career for Gabe Norwood in the Philippines, both on the national team and at the professional level.
“I made the team before I came here in the Philippines. It wasn’t until I came here where I actually understood the lifestyle, the way the game was played, and everything behind it,” he added.
Norwood ended up playing a key leadership role and being a defensive cog for the Asia Cup 2013 and 2015 finals teams, along with back-to-back World Cup appearances.

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