How ‘last men standing’ Amer, Fajardo and Norwood kept their cool

July 5, 2018 - 1:57 PM
Gilas team captain Gabe Norwood (FIBA file photo)

Nine out of the 12 men donning the Gilas Pilipinas jersey found themselves tossed off the court after engaging in a free-for-all skirmish with their Australian counterparts that broke out in their Group B matchup at the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers on Monday.

Despite having to go 3 versus 5 in the dying minutes of a ball game now followed by the entire world, the highest praise has been reserved for Baser Amer, June Mar Fajardo and national team captain Gabe Norwood.

‘Last men standing’ 

Footage of the three lone Gilas players who were not ejected after the now-infamous brawl playing against a full five-man contingent from Australia has gone viral.

The three players played out the remaining four minutes in the third quarter. By the time officials declared Australia’s victory by default, the score was 89-53. The three-man Filipino squad had managed to put up just five points against the Australians.

Despite the shocking defeat and the criticism that has rained upon their teammates, waves of praise have come for the trio.

Baser Amer

Quite literally “the last man standing,” the guard from the Meralco Bolts has been featured on various memes. After Norwood and Fajardo fouled out, Amer became the last player left to play for the Philippines. This led to Australia winning by default.

Photographed standing calmly on the sidelines as the fracas broke out, Amer has received praise for maintaining his composure. Boyet Fernandez, his former collegiate coach during his playing days for alma mater San Beda University praised Amer.

“Ever since na-handle ko siya, maganda na naman talaga yung attitude ng bata. Happy ako sa kanya,” Fernandez said in an interview with ABS-CBN news.

June Mar Fajardo

A dominant force in Filipino basketball today, the center from the San Miguel Beermen has been noted not just for his talent and raw power but also his calm demeanor.

Since being drafted in 2012, Fajardo has leapfrogged into the conversation on the greatest Filipino to ever hold a basketball, with four Most Valuable Player, six Best Player of the Conference and two Finals MVP trophies.

Regularly the victim of rough play on the court, Fajardo in media interviews after the game related that lectures from his parents gave him a composed mindset for his career as a cager.

“Nakita n’yo naman kung anong ginawa ko dun. Tinuruan ako ng parents ko, hindi naman sa lahat ng panahon, kung pwede mo iwasan yung gulo umiwas ka kasi baka pagsisihan mo,” Fajardo reportedly said at a Gilas team dinner.

For some, Fajardo is a role model that even other public figures should strive to emulate.

Gabe Norwood

The most tenured among the trio, the 6’5 defensive specialist from the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters has been playing for the national team since 2007, way before it was rebranded into Gilas Pilipinas. He posted his thoughts on Twitter after the game.

The 33-year old nine-time PBA all-star has received praise from his loyal fans for conducting himself with the composure expected of a team captain.