WHILE today's young players normally emulate the Lebrons and Kobes of their generation, such is not the case for incoming La Salle freshman and former Batang Gilas member Enzo Navarro.
The point guard out of San Sebastian may be too young to be familiar with the NBA stars of the late 80s and early 90s, yet Navarro looks up to Isiah Thomas of the Detroit Pistons' 'Bad Boys' as his idol.
Navarro said he wants to emulate the grit and leadership of the court general who led the Pistons to two straight NBA titles.
“Gusto ko ‘yung tapang niya at ‘yung pag-oorganize niya sa team. ‘Yun ang gusto kong gawin,” said the 17-year-old Navarro, who played for Batang Gilas in the Fiba Under-17 World Championship.
That attitude and work habit are what the 5-foot-8 player hopes to contribute to the Green Archers when he plays his rookie season for the Taft-based school this year.
Navarro is just one of three blue-chip prospects recruited by La Salle this year along with fellow Under-17 teammate Jollo Go of Hope Christian High School and Andrei Caracut of San Beda.
Navarro said his father was a big influence in his decision to play for La Salle. Dad Nandy was a former cager with the La Salle Greenhills high school team who went on to play for the Stags in college.
“Actually, noong bata ako, dalawang schools lang ‘yung alam ko - La Salle at San Sebastian - kasi doon galing si daddy. Ngayon, nakapaglaro na ako sa San Sebastian, nagkaroon ng chance na makalaro sa La Salle, grab ko na ‘yung opportunity kaya nag-decide ako sa La Salle,” said Navarro.
In his final year with the Staglets, Navarro averaged 10.2 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 3.2 assists (seventh-best in Season 90).
After being one of the top scoring options of San Sebastian last season, Navarro said he isn't focused on scoring in bunches for the Green Archers, a team already loaded with offensive firepower.
Instead, he wants to share the ball more and set up his teammates.
Navarro showed a glimpse of what he can do at the point during the SLAM Rising Stars Classic meet over the weekend when he dished off a game-high four assists in a losing cause for Team Hype.
“Ever since, mas maganda for me na makapag-create for my teammates lalo na’t puro scorers ang team. Hindi ko na kailangang maging scorer. Mag-set up lang ako ng maganda para madaling maka-score para sa team,” said Navarro, also the younger brother of Hapee assistant coach Carmelo Navarro.
Despite La Salle having a loaded backcourt, Navarro said he is glad to be have been given opportunities by La Salle coach Juno Sauler to play during tune-up games and show his true worth, which he hopes will bear fruit someday.
“Nandoon ‘yung adjustment period. Maganda naman ang tinatakbo ng team kasi minsan ginagawa akong two-guard para mabilis ang game. Kaya ‘yung rotation namin sa guard, malalim. Basta ako, kung bigyan ako ng minutes, gagawin ko ‘yung role ko,” Navarro said.