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Renzo Navarro takes on unfamiliar role in young Lyceum

Lyceum of the Philippines University is known for its mantra of “Love, Serve. Care” in the NCAA, and with this, the Pirates are expected to do something bigger than themselves.

And no better one to exemplify this but current team captain Renzo Navarro.

The 5-foot-9 point guard knew from the start that he had to be that glue guy as soon as the green light for resumption of training happened.

“Ano siya eh, naging habit na siya sa ‘kin eh,” he recalled. “Kasi simula nung pumasok kami ng bubble, puro bata yung kasama ko. Tapos siyempre, iba-iba ng pinanggalingan, iba-iba ng ugali. So ako, sinet ko na sa utak ko na, ako na mag-a-adjust sa mga to para maging united kami, bilang ako yung maraming experience, so shine-share ko sa kanilang lahat yun.

“Tina-try kong tumugma sa mga ugali nila para kami mismo on and off the court, mag-bond talaga kami.”

However, the Pirates could not find their groove and took just one win in six tries, despite holding defending champion Colegio de San Juan de Letran to the edge in the last of these six contests.

Navarro admitted that it was hard for the squad to find that go-to guy as they are in rebuilding mode for the season.NCAA-Season-95-LPU-def-EAC-Marcelino-Twins Renzo Navarro takes on unfamiliar role in young Lyceum Basketball LPU NCAA News  - philippine sports news

“Actually, sir, sobrang hirap kasi kung titignan niyo yung lineup, apat lang kaming holdovers,” admitted the 24-year-old floor general, who still has one year of eligibility left. “At kung titignan niyo yung minutes nung past season nung apat na yun, hindi naman kami masyadong ginagamit eh. Sa ‘ming apat ako na yata pinakamatagal — 15 minutes na yata yung pinakamatagal ko. Basically, parang rookie kami lahat eh.

“Mahirap, kasi dati, ilang minutes lang na maganda laruin mo okay na, sila (Jayvee and JC) Marcelino na bahala, sila (Raymar) Caduyac, sila Mike Harry (Nzeusseu) na. Pero ngayon wala eh. Wala na talaga kaming ibang maaasahan.”

However, given the chance and opportunity, there was no stopping the former Batang Gilas standout to come up big in the most crucial time.

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Tied at 66 with the Arellano Chiefs, the San Sebastian high school product took matters into his own hands and snagged the lead with a huge attack to the basket with just 30.2 seconds remaining in the game.

Those seventh and eighth points of the quarter turned out to be the winner before his final two points on the free-throw line sealed the deal for their first win.

For Navarro, it was more of a relief and gave them a glimmer of hope for that play-in spot.

NCAA-97-LPU-vs-AU-Renzo-Navarro Renzo Navarro takes on unfamiliar role in young Lyceum Basketball LPU NCAA News  - philippine sports news

(C) NCAA/GMA Photos

“Siyempre positive lang palagi, di ba? Wala ng ibang maniniwala sa ‘min kundi ‘yung circle lang namin talaga,” he said.

All this happened despite him nursing a nagging foot injury.

“Simula pa lang, siguro mga second week pa lang ng bubble, may na-feel ako sa talampakan ko na parang tumutusok na pain. Tapos nung kinonsult ko siya online sa mga kilala kong doctors and PTs, may plantar fasciitis daw ako. So, binigyan nila ko ng option na kung gusto ko na siyang ilabas para ipa-check up,” he said.

However, ever the soldier and with this being his last chance to make his mark in Lyceum lore, he had to make a huge sacrifice.

“Pero iniisip ko kasi ‘pag pina-check siya sa doctor, and i-sa-suggest talaga nila or ire-recommend talaga nila na ipahinga eh pero ayaw kong iwan yung team ko eh. Ayaw kong iwan yung mga kaibigan ko, mga brother ko eh, so tiniis ko talaga.”

And with the league in the midst of its final stretch, Navarro looks to steer Lyceum into the post-season.

Grew to appreciate various sports from tennis to judo. True-maroon kiddo since the new millennium. Fanboy. Singer. Occasional sports writer.

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