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    William Navarro proves a real Gilas asset at small forward

    Jun 21, 2021
    PHOTO: fiba.basketball

    WILLIAM Navarro has always felt that he could have done a lot more for Gilas Pilipinas in the second window of the 2021 Fiba Asia Cup qualifiers in Manama back in November.

    A position change from a frontline role to a winger did the trick.

    Navarro thrived in his new role as a small forward, making the most of his length and versatility to help the Philippines take down Korea, 82-77, on Sunday and complete a sweep of its six Group A games in the qualifiers.

    "Super relieved na nag-pay off yung hardwork ko," said the 6-foot-6 forward, who played mostly the 4 position during his time with Ateneo in the UAAP.

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      Navarro was solid in his first outing for Gilas against Korea last Wednesday and did even better at the three position on Sunday, finishing with eight points on 1-of-3 shooting from deep, to go with his four rebounds in 22 minutes of play.

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      Stepping up in the absence of the injured Carl Tamayo, the 24-year old made two big plays on Sunday. The first was a steal on Yeo Jun Seok at the 3:48 mark of the second quarter that led to a one-handed flush and a 32-28 Gilas lead.

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      His second highlighy play was a huge chasedown block on Byeon Jun Hyeong midway through the third quarter, which proved to everyone why he has always been a keeper for coach Tab Baldwin.

      "Yung ginagawa ko dati, nalabas ko in today's game. Mas nag-focus ako at thankfully, maganda ang nagawa ko today," he said.

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      More than his individual performance, though, Navarro was just overjoyed over the overall showing this young Gilas pool had in Clark.

      The Athens-raised forward said he's living a dream right now.

      "Dream come true for me. Ever since nung bata ako, it was a dream for me to play for the Philippine team and represent it," he said. "History na rin kasi twice namin na-beat ang Korea, magkasunod pa. Sobrang happy sa resulta namin."

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        PHOTO: fiba.basketball
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