Gabe Norwood took the blame for Rain or Shine’s disappointing 101-98 loss to TNT on Wednesday night as he missed two crucial free throws in the endgame of their PBA Governors Cup match at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Norwood, who averaged a PBA career-high 73.8 percent during the first 2 conferences, muffed the pair of free throws given to him during the last 2.5 seconds of the game after being fouled by Jayson Castro.
The diminutive TNT guard was actually whistled for a deliberate foul, which rewarded Rain or Shine two free throws plus ball possession.
But with Norwood missing both, followed by a fruitless attempt from its ball possession inside the dying seconds, Rain or Shine surrendered the game to TNT, which closed the match with an 11-0 windup.
“(That’s) the story of the game from beginning to the end. We shot 59 percent as a team (from the foul line) and I didn’t help at all when we needed them the most,” rued the 31-year-old Norwood.
“But those things we look back at it between free throws and turnovers, I think that’s basically the ball game, especially towards the end. And I own up to it so we just keep working,” he added.
The Gilas Pilipinas stalwart admitted the muffed foul shots could hang on to his head for the night, but stressed he’ll just try to move on from there and look forward to bouncing back on Saturday against Phoenix.
“It’s frustrating. It weighs heavy on my mind tonight but we turn around to play Saturday so it’s gotta be out of my mind soon,” he said.
Rain or Shine, which captured the franchise’s 2nd PBA title during the Commissioner’s Cup last may, short just 17 of 29 from the foul line.
The Elasto Painters also had 19 turnovers, 6 from import Dior Lowhorn, while Paul Lee accounted for 4. – By Richard Dy
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