William Navarro heads to Korea after signing with Seoul Samsung

William Navarro is the latest Filipino to play in the KBL. (FIBA photo)

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

Another young Filipino basketball prospect will be taking his talents to the Korean Basketball League (KBL).

William Navarro, a current part of the Gilas Pilipinas Men’s National Basketball Team and a former UAAP champion with the Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles, is set to fly to Korea after inking a deal with the Seoul Samsung Thunders.

It was the Samsung Thunders’ management who announced the recent development and was also posted on Korean website Jumpball, stating that the Filipino swingman will join the team after their campaign in the 2022 FIBA Asia Cup.

Navarro will still fly with Gilas Pilipinas to Jakarta, Indonesia from July 12-24 and has already become a staple member of the national team since getting tapped by former mentor Tab Baldwin as part of the young pool.

The six-foot-six small forward was a revelation for the Filipinos after displaying his evolved game from a solid defender in Ateneo to a reliable versatile scorer on the national team.

Navarro made sure to show out during Gilas’ must-win game against India in their second game of the 2023 FIBA World Cup Asian qualifiers after finishing with 11 points, four rebounds, and two steals.

Aside from his defensive tenacity and slashing prowess, Navarro also improved his three-point shooting and was one of the key pieces to Gilas sweeping their series over Korea during the third and final window of the FIBA Asia Cup last year.

Navarro will become the fifth Filipino to play in the KBL and will join SJ Belangel, RJ Abarrientos, Justin Gutang, and Ethan Alvano.

Up to this date, several Korean basketball clubs are still not done with their overseas recruitment and might add more Filipinos to the list of their growing Asian imports.