ANTIPOLO — While all his teammates were given minutes to show their wares on the floor, Will Navarro sat on the bench and cheered on his comrades as if he were their biggest fan.
It was a situation born from an unfortunate incident during the last time the 6-foot-5 utility forward played. Early in the first quarter against University of the East, Nick Abanto hit Navarro, which gave him a concussion.
“Oo, wala akong maalala. Naalala ko lang nung nasa ospital na ako. Parang ‘di ko na maalala anong nangyari that day.”
As a precaution for his head injury, though, Ateneo’s medical staff and team physician told him to sit out what became the Blue Eagles’ 13th victory in the UAAP Season 82 Men’s Basketball Tournament, an 88-51 rout over National University, Saturday at the Ynares Center.
“Okay lang naman ako. I just had to rest.
“Sabi ng mga doctor, advice nila ‘wag na lang akong maglaro. Nag-warm up lang ako para maging present lang ako sa mga activities,” said the former San Beda Red Lion.
And so when he finished his pre-game rituals, Navarro eagerly watched, supported, and gave advice to the Blue Eagles. He cheered while his teammates dominated both ends of the floor against the Bulldogs en route to their biggest win of the season. And though ideally he would have joined in on the fun, the 22-year-old had no ill feelings about his absence.
“Anyone can do something big for the team. Lahat naman ready to play, kaya sobrang happy ako para sa kanila,” he shared.
He may have missed out today, but there is another challenge up ahead that promises to test Navarro and the rest of the Blue Eagles anew. Up next is University of the Philippines, who seeks to put a stain on Ateneo’s perfect record this season.
“Oo, probably makakalaro na ako dun. Next week, training lang tapos kaya na naman.”