In a seven-year journey that saw him make stops in Taft and Recto Avenue, Renzo Navarro finished his collegiate run in the fabled walls of Intramuros.
And on Tuesday afternoon, it came to a heartbreaking end inside the Filoil Ecooil Centre. Ironically, it came at the hands of Lyceum of the Philippines University’s next-door neighbor – Colegio de San Juan de Letran.
Regardless of the situation, the now-25, still-babyfaced guard is holding his head up high.
“Para sa akin, happy ako and contented ako sa naging season ko ngayon. Kasi kung inisip ko ‘yung sarili ko ngayon season na ‘to, hindi namin mararating ‘to,” shared Navarro after the Pirates’ 58-67 loss to the Knights.
Definitely, it has been a long ride for Navarro.
A highly-touted recruit in 2015, he was part of La Salle’s haul that also netted the Green Archers the likes of Jollo Go and Mark Dyke.
After just a year in La Salle, he returned home to San Sebastian. But some unfortunate events in the Golden Stags led him and some Stags players to move out of Recto and into Intramuros.
“Pumasok ako ng NCAA nung 2013, juniors pa. Sobrang haba ng journey, sobrang dami ng challenges, yung mga times that I almost gave up,” he recalled.
“Na kahit hindi namin nakuha ang gusto naming makuha, masaya ako na natapos ko collegiate season ko dito sa NCAA.”
Navarro, who is the leading assistman of the league, ended the way he started – in the Final Four.
But unlike in La Salle, Navarro feels glad to have helped in grooming the next generation.
The 5-foot-8 guard is proud to see the likes of Mac Guadana and Gyle Montano take the lead at certain points of the season.
“Sobrang laking potential ng mga teammates ko, so feeling ko na-maximize naman ‘yun dahil sa mga sacrifices na ginawa ko,” expressed Navarro.
He finished with two points, four assists, and four rebounds before fouling out late in their semis game against Letran.
“Actually, buong season, nag-uusap kami ni Mac. Sabi ko sa kanya ko iiwan ang role na yun kasi siya yung pinaka-capable and siya yung galing ng juniors na ginagawa niya talaga. Nile-lead niya ang team niya and sabi niya na maging ready lang siya.”
Navarro, though, has yet to decide on what’s next for him.
Of course, the PBA Draft is the ultimate goal. Maybe a stint in the MPBL or PSL is a possibility? Or maybe he’d be a sports executive like his brother Carmelo.
But for now, all he wants is to do one thing.
“Siguro, magpapahinga na muna ako.”