By Jonas Terrado
Gabe Norwood settled for a top eight finish in FIBA’s Dunk of the Decade contest after losing to Iran’s Arsalan Kazemi in the quarterfinals.
Norwood’s dunk in the 2014 World Cup was good for only 39.98 percent of the votes as Kazemi’s slam in the 2016 Olympic Qualifying Tournament came back after trailing early in the polls to win with 60.02 percent.
Kazemi made his way to the semifinals against the throwdown of Brazil’s Rafael Mineiro in the 2015 AmeriCup. The other bracket features NBA star Kristaps Porzingis’ dunk for Latvia in the 2017 Eurobasket opposite Angola’s Carlos Morais in the 2013 Afrobasket.
The contest, to be determined by fan voting, comprised of some of the 32 best dunks from FIBA competitions in the 2010s.
Among those selected was Norwood’s dunk over Luis Scola during the Gilas-Argentina in the 2014 World Cup group stage in Sevilla, Spain.
Through help from Filipino basketball fans and numerous plugs by the PBA on its social media account, Norwood was able to win the first two rounds of the contest.
Norwood won over Australia’s Mitch Creek’s dunk from the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup in the first round with 83.73 percent before prevailing over China’s Yi Jianlian in the 2019 World Cup with 77.49 percent votes.
Kazemi’s one-handed dunk over Greece’s Ioannis Bourousis happened during one of the four OQT tournaments held in Turin, Italy. The Iranians went on to lose 78-53.