Norwood Gets VISA

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Norwood Gets VISA

Post by Admin on Thu Jul 26, 2007 8:46 am



NORWOOD FINALLY GETS VISA, RUSHES TO NAIA TO JOIN TEAM “Now I can fully concentrate on helping the team get to Beijing”

Thursday, 26 July 2007

With
a twist of irony, the Japanese Embassy handed Fil-Am Gabe Norwood his
ticket to join San Miguel-Team Pilipinas just hours before the team
left for Tokushima to play in the 24th FIBA-Asia Men's Championship beginning Saturday.

Norwood,
a 6-6 high-leaper who can play three positions and is a key figure in
the national team's bid to earn a berth to the Olympic Games in Beijing
after 35 years, secured a clearance from the Justice department early
this week.

He was issued a Philippine passport by the Foreign
Affairs Office late Monday, according to Rickie Santos, PBA operations
manager, and spent half of Tuesday applying for an entry visa to Japan,


Norwood was granted one Wednesday morning, but only after assistant
coach Aboy Castro pulled him out of team practice at the Sportskamp in
The Fort and drove him to the Japanese Embassy to answer a few more
questions.

The Nationals left for Japan at 2:30 p.m., Norwood with them, taking a Philippine Airlines flight to Kansai International Airport in Osaka where a two-hour bus ride to Tokushima awaits them.

"I wasn't really sure I'd be able to join the team," said Norwood from the Centennial Terminal. "I thought I had everything completed yesterday (Tuesday). I thought I was done."

Apparently, he wasn't.

"I sort of jumped into the car with coach Aboy and sped off to the Embassy in the middle of practice," he said.

Just before departure, Norwood expressed elation and relief that his travel woes to Japan were behind him.


"I'm very excited. It's been a long process. Now that things have been
taken care of, I can fully concentrate on helping the team get to Beijing. That's my main focus."

National coach Chot Reyes thanked the Japanese Embassy for expediting Norwood's visa.


"At least we're leaving the country with a full complement of 15
players," Reyes said. "It somehow lessens the uncertainties because
everybody knows the value of Norwood and the versatility that he gives."

SMC-RP takes on Iran, defending champion China and Jordan in the preliminary round of the FIBA-Asia, and could run smack into Japan and three more group qualifiers in the quarterfinal round.
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