MANILA, Philippines -- William Navarro hopes to be given a chance to pursue his basketball career even as he apologized to the national federation for signing with a team in the Korean Basketball League (KBL).
Navarro was not given his letter of clearance by FIBA to join the Seoul Samsung Thunders, as he has an active contract with the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP).
Under the provisions of the contract, Navarro can only play professionally for the NorthPort Batang Pier, the team that selected him in the special round of the 2021 PBA Rookie Draft.
In a statement released on Thursday, Navarro offered his apologies over the current situation and explained that he has already met with SBP leadership to discuss the matter.
"Last Monday, I attended the Gilas Pilipinas practice session at the Meralco Gym in a positive response to the invitation to me, and to show my support and commitment to the national team," said Navarro.
It was there that he reached out to SBP Executive Director Sonny Barrios, Gilas Pilipinas team manager Butch Antonio, and Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes to clear the air.
"Today, I met with Exec Director Sonny Barrios at his office and reiterated my sincere apology for my error and the misunderstanding and miscommunication caused by my signing up with the Samsung Thunders of Korea," said Navarro.
"I now fully recognize that I have an existing contract with the SBP and am aware of its provision re: the rights of my PBA Drafting Team thru the PBA special draft, Northport Batang Pier," he added.
"Since the fallout of my actions, I have sought professional assistance and am now once again under the advisement of a management team that will assist me with contracts and commitments moving forward."
While apologetic, Navarro also makes it clear that he is determined to move forward with his basketball career.
The former Ateneo de Manila University standout has played just 13 games since 2020, all of them for Gilas Pilipinas. He was not included in the provisional pool of players for the FIBA World Cup 2023 revealed by the SBP during a recent Senate meeting.
"I seek the kind understanding and generosity of the SBP, the PBA, and the Northport Batang Pier Team to give me a chance to pursue my and my family's dreams for my basketball career," Navarro said.
"I pledge to abide by whatever decision they may arrive at regarding my case," he added.
Navarro also vowed that he will continue to make himself available to the national team, "whenever the program needs my services. He last played for Gilas in the FIBA Asia Cup, but was not called up to the fourth window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.