MANILA – William Raniel “Will” Navarro apologized to the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) after getting embroiled in a contract impasse that prevented him from joining the Seoul Samsung Thunders for the upcoming Korean Basketball League (KBL) season.
In a statement over Instagram, Navarro said he personally went to SBP executive director Sonny Barrios to say sorry for signing with Seoul Samsung despite having a live contract to be a full-time Gilas Pilipinas player.
Barrios earlier said the six-foot-six forward has to honor his Gilas contract, which comes with a clause for him to play for NorthPort in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) if he gets released.
"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. 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," Navarro said.
He said a management team is now assisting him in his affairs so that a similar incident will not happen again in the future.
"Since the fallout of my actions, 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," he added
He reiterated his commitment to play for Gilas should he get a call-up, but he too pleaded for him to be released from his contract.
"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," the former Ateneo Blue Eagle added.
Navarro, however, clarified that he will "abide by whatever decision they may arrive at regarding my case."
Thunders take Christian David instead
Despite that, the Thunders did not wait for the resolution of Navarro's contract dispute and signed another Filipino to be its Asian import.
Seoul Samsung announced on Thursday that it has signed Christian David.
Like Navarro, David, formerly of Butler University, stands at six-feet-six.
However, despite both his parents being Filipino, David is not considered a local by FIBA eligibility as he attained his Philippine passport after reaching 16 years old.
The KBL, though, is lenient regarding the national team eligibility of its Asian imports and classifies David as such. (PNA)