William Navarro was deadset in playing out his final year for Ateneo de Manila University.
But early December, the UAAP Season 83 tournament was officially cancelled. In addition, the Season 84 tournament will most likely not take place in the calendar year of 2021.
With this, the earliest Navarro can enter the PBA Rookie Draft is on 2023. By then, he would already be 26-year-old.
That is why it was now or never for the 6-foot-6 utility forward.
“The UAAP season was the main reason talaga. I was going to play my last year pero nga dahil sa COVID, hindi natuloy,” Navarro told Tiebreaker Times.
“Hindi rin natin alam kung matutuloy ulit ang UAAP.”
It had been a long journey for Navarro just to get to Ateneo.
Back in 2014, Navarro, a wide-eyed kid who just finished school in Philippine School in Greece, went to San Beda.
During his rookie year in NCAA Season 91, Navarro saw limited minutes. But Ateneo saw potential in him that saw him go from Mendiola to Katipunan.
In Ateneo, he flourished. Though his career stats of 5.16 points, 4.4 rebounds, 1.1 assists, and 0.73 blocks in 30 games played won’t show it, his impact on Ateneo’s back-to-back crowns in the UAAP was intangible.
“Super thankful and blessed to be part of Ateneo. I never expected to be here.
“Pero sometimes yung mga plano natin ay hindi nangyayari or natutuloy for reasons na hindi natin kontrolado. Sometimes, things turn out for the better. Everything happens for a reason and I’m super grateful kasi Ateneo welcomed me with open arms. I’ll forever cherish the moments we spent together,” he expressed.
One of the things Navarro wants to do is to bring his dad Randy home. Randy has been the breadwinner of their family as a seaman.
In addition, Navarro wants to bring his sister Celine home as well and study in Ateneo.
“Gusto ko na rin makatulong sa father ko at gusto ko rin na makapag-aral kapatid ko sa Ateneo.”
Navarro is set to get his undergraduate degree in Ateneo this semester.
For those interested in drafting him, Navarro vows to show the same competitive spirit he brought to the Blue Eagles during his two years there.
“I will do anything that they want me to do for them, mapa-rebounding, defense, scoring, length o anuman yan. My goal is to help the team that drafts me to win.”