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SBP says Gilas players 'need to respect agreements' after disallowing Will Navarro

Will Navarro needs to honor his Gilas and NorthPort contract says the SBP. Dennis Acosta (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

PASAY--The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas confirmed on Sunday that it has indeed not allowed Will Navarro from taking his talents to Seoul and play for the Samsung-backed Thunders squad for the upcoming KBL season.

According to SBP executive director and spokesman Sonny Barrios, the six-foot-six forward must honor first his contract with Gilas Pilipinas as well as its clause in which he has to play for NorthPort in the PBA.

"Mr. Navarro has an existing contract to play for the national team, attend activities, practices, social, and business functions, and with his undeniable agreement be assigned to only and no other team or ballclub than his PBA drafting team, the NorthPort Batang Pier," Barrios said in a statement.

NorthPort selected Navarro second overall in the special Gilas round of the 2021 PBA Draft, giving the team the right for the player.

However, Barrios clarified that the SBP is not barring Navarro at all from playing overseas amid an ongoing exodus of Filipino players upon the introduction of the Asian Player Quota rule in the KBL and also the Japan B.League and the P.League+ and T1 League of Taiwan.

"The SBP respects players' rights to look for greener pastures. But players also need to respect agreements they have entered into with their teams," Barrios added. "The SBP does not intend to unduly prevent players from furthering their careers with other teams here or overseas. But it is a fundamental and ethical practice for players to honor their existing contracts with their mother teams."

He then defended the letter of clearance which was not granted to the Korea Basketball Association, saying, "The essence for the need for a letter of clearance is FIBA's policy of upholding the sanctity of an existing legally binding contract whenever the issue of the player transfer comes about so that proper order is maintained among all stakeholders."

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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