|Will Navarro officially enters the Gilas round. Dennis Acosta (file photo)|
MANILA--Will Navarro has finally made up his mind: he is joining the Gilas Pilipinas Men Draft.
In a significant flip on Monday, the Gilas Cadet will enter the PBA Draft through the special Gilas round.
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Al Panlilio confirmed that the former San Beda and Ateneo big man was among those who initially declined an invite to be part of the Gilas Draft.
But Panlilio added that the change of heart happened while Navarro was inside the national team's training bubble in Calamba.
“This is why it was important for us to get the commitment of talented players to join the pool. William Navarro initially begged off from joining but his stint inside the Gilas Pilipinas training bubble has convinced him that this would be the best direction for his development as a basketball player,” Panlilio said.
He then said that Navarro will complete the cast of the Gilas round, which also includes Jordan Heading, Tzaddy Rangel, and Jaydee Tungcab.
“He will be the last addition to our pool to give the PBA teams enough time to map out their game-plan for upcoming draft,” Panlilio bared.
He then said, “The SBP thanks the PBA Board of Governors and Commissioner Willie Marcial for their flexibility in this matter and for allowing Navarro to join the Gilas pool instead. We know that a lot of teams had their eyes on Navarro but the Board of Governors saw past that to consider the needs of Gilas.”
Panlilio then reiterated that the current Gilas Men program is the optimal way for them to become competitive ahead of the 2023 FIBA World Cup that the Philippines will co-host with Japan and Indonesia.
“The SBP strongly believes that the program we have now would give us the opportunity to build the best team possible for the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup,” he further said.
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