Former Ateneo forward William Navarro decided to bat for the special Gilas draft 2021 of PBA in exchange for his eligibility to play in the UAAP.

/ 16 February 2021

“We know a lot of teams had their eyes on Navarro, but the Board of Governors saw past that to consider the needs of Gilas. He will be the last addition to our pool to give the PBA teams enough time to map their game-plan for the upcoming draft,” said SBP president Al Panlilio in a statement.

Initially, Navarro backed out of the ongoing training bubble in Calamba, Laguna but had changed his mind for almost the same reasons as other collegiate players who forfeited their final year of eligibility.

“I was actually going to play my last year [with Ateneo]. But since we had the COVID-19 situation, we would not know when the UAAP would return. We may not have a season [this] year,” Navarro propounded.

“…but his stint inside the Gilas bubble has convinced him that this would be the best direction for his development as a basketball player,” SBP added.

Navarro will be added to the roster and will be uniting with Jordan Heading, Tzaddy Rangel, and Jaydee Tungcab.

While joining as full-time members of the Gilas pool are Navarro’s co-players in the FIBA 2021 second window, Isaac Go, brothers Matt and Mike Nieto, and Rey Suerte.

The PBA is allowed to name a ‘minimum of three and maximum of five players’ for inclusion in this year’s special Gilas draft and believed that their program will still bring the best out of the players.

“The SBP strongly believes the program we have now would give us the opportunity to build the best team possible for the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup…this is why it’s important for us to get the commitment of talented players to join the pool,”  SBP President Panlilio concluded.