William Navarro declares for PBA Draft, foregoes final year with Ateneo
Will Navarro

William Navarro declares for PBA Draft, foregoes final year with Ateneo

Rick Olivares (Philstar.com) - January 23, 2021 - 1:00pm

MANILA, Philippines — Ateneo Blue Eagles forward William Navarro is foregoing his final playing year in the University Athletics Association of the Philippines to try his luck in the upcoming Philippines Basketball Association draft this March.

“I came to this decision for several reasons. First of all, the UAAP season was cancelled,” said Navarro to philstar.com. “And I am a semester away from graduating. I am not sure I can stay longer because my second reason is, I want to help family. I want my dad to come home.”

Navarro who was born and raised in Greece and his father, Randy, works there as a seaman. 

“Kung makapag-sign ako ng magandang kontrata, makakatulong ito sa father ko. Gusto ko na siya umuwi rito at mag-retiro na. Ako na rin tutulong sa family ko.”

Navarro helped Ateneo to two UAAP Men’s Basketball championships in the past two seasons where he averaged 5.1 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 1.0 assist per game. He moved into the starting unit of Tab Baldwin in Season 82 when Raffy Verano became unavailable due to academics.

Navarro provided help in rebounding, defense, and another option behind Angelo Kouame, Thirdy Ravena, and Matt Nieto in scoring.

“For me, the second championship was better for me. I was a big part of the team compared to the first where I was coming off the bench. Mas may meaning for me,” said Navarro of his efforts wherein he was feted the AXA Know You Can Player of the Season award. 

Navarro wasn’t aware of Philippine basketball at all as he grew up in Europe. When he first came over, it was to try out for Batang Gilas (he was cut) and not for anything else.

He tried out for several teams then latched onto San Beda where he was a role player when the Red Lions under Jamike Jarin bagged their 20th NCAA crown in 2016.

William transferred to Ateneo citing that he wanted to play for its head coach in Tab Baldwin.

“I am thankful to the Ateneo community for welcoming me to Loyola Heights,” Navarro said in paying tribute to the blue and white faithful. “I never expected to go to Ateneo but I am happy I did and it is one of the best decisions I have made in my life. Everything I experienced in the Ateneo put me in this position so my family and I are grateful.”

Navarro has a semester left before he graduates this May and he promised his parents, Randy and Mariel, that he would get his diploma. 

“Another reason why I want to turn pro is to help bring my 13-year old sister Celine to Ateneo,” added William of his decision to try his luck in the professional ranks. “Sigurado ako that going here will also be good for her.”

“It wasn’t an easy decision. Siyempre, iisipin mo if this will hurt the team. But hindi natin kasi alam when the season will start. Sobrang daming questions. But I just want to help my family. It is for my family and not me."

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