Is Navarro next to go?

SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin M. Henson - The Philippine Star

Gilas mainstay William Navarro may be next in line to jump ship and play in the Korean Basketball League (KBL), following in the footsteps of national teammates SJ Belangel and RJ Abarrientos. A Korean correspondent said news of Navarros signing will be released soon and former Benilde player Justin Gutang may also join the bandwagon.

But there could be a hitch in Navarros transfer. While he has a live contract with SBP, NorthPort owns his PBA rights as he was picked second in the special Gilas draft last year. It was confirmed that NorthPort has offered Navarro a contract and plans to activate him for the ongoing Philippine Cup. The contract, however, has not been signed by Navarro. It presumes a release from SBP.

FIBA clearance is required for a player to move countries and it means prior approval from his governing federation when involving a pro contract. In Gilas player Jordan Headings case, FIBA allowed his transfer to Taiwan without SBPs clearance. A player agent said Heading had no pro contract in the Philippines so FIBA didnt require federation approval. Apparently, Headings contract with SBP was not recognized by FIBA. Heading was picked first in the Gilas special draft by Terrafirma last year.

If Navarro doesnt sign with NorthPort, his existing SBP contract wont be recognized by FIBA and as in the Heading precedent, hell be approved to transfer to Korea. Navarro, 25, recently played for Gilas in a pair of friendlies in Anyang. Belangel and Abarrientos also saw action in the friendlies.

Korean correspondent Son Dae Bum said Abarrientos was impressive in the friendlies. “I love Abarrientosplay,” said Son. “He almost crushed our defense with (his) sharpshooting. He will play under coach Yoo Jae Hak (whom) I think is the Korean Gregg Popovich, the winningest coach in KBL history. He won the championship six times and also won the gold medal in the 2014 Asian Games. The Hyundai Mobis needs a guard who has speed and shooting. Abarrientos will fit well if he can adjust his style to coach Yoos system. Belangel will live with his family in Korea. I heard his team Daegu KOGAS Pegasus invited them and it is an option.”



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