Navarro still hoping to play in Korea
NIEL VICTOR MASOY
The Manila Times
GILAS Pilipinas standout Will Navarro still hopes that the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP), the country’s governing body for basketball, will give him the clearance to play for the Seoul Samsung Thunders in the Korea Basketball Association (KBA). “I seek the kind understanding and generosity of the SBP, the PBA, and the NorthPort Batang Pier team to give me a chance to pursue my and my family’s dreams for my basketball career,” Navarro wrote in his statement on Thursday. “I pledge to abide by whatever decision they may arrive at regarding my case,” he added. The 6-foot-6 Navarro signed with the Thunders in July but his KBA stint was put in limbo after the SBP and FIBA, the world’s governing body for basketball, did not give him the green light to play in the Korean league. According to the SBP, which the FIBA concurred, Navarro has to honor his existing contract to play for Gilas Pilipinas and NorthPort, which picked him in the 2021 PBA-Gilas special Rookie Draft. In his statement, Navarro apologized to the powers that be for his lapse. “Today, I met with (SBP) Executive Director Sonny Barrios at his office and reiterated my sincere apology for my error and the misunderstanding and miscommunication caused by my signing up with the Samsung Thunders of Korea,” said Navarro. “I now fully recognize that I have an existing contract with the SBP and am aware of its provision regarding the rights of my PBA drafting team through the PBA special draft, NorthPort Batang Pier. Since the fallout of my actions, I have sought professional assistance and am now once again under the [counsel] of a management team that will assist me with contracts.” Navarro, 25, also reiterated his commitment to the Gilas Pilipinas program. “Further, I commit to make myself available to Gilas Pilipinas whenever the program needs my services — this is why I wholeheartedly attended last night’s practice,” he said. “Lastly, with this apology and clarification, I trust that we will all be united for the good of Gilas Pilipinas and Philippine basketball.” Navarro’s case has been a trending topic on social media for several days now.