Signing 2 contracts is illegal
By Al S. Mendoza
WILL Navarro was hot news this week on the sporting front.
Not because of his on-court skills but, alas, on his off-court misstep of monumental proportions.
Navarro was a star of the Ateneo basketball team that won multiple times in the UAAP events in recent memory.
Upon his graduation from the premiere university, Navarro was bound for bigger roles on the game’s grander stage, not only nationally but globally as well.
He was drafted to the national squad that is the prestigious Gilas Pilipinas Team.
Next, he would get a prized position as a blue-chip player selected in the Gilas-PBA (Philippine Basketball Association) special Draft for NorthPort.
Meaning, NorthPort, one of 12 PBA teams, gets the first crack at Navarro when he finally decides to turn pro.
The 25-year-old Navarro, who was born to Filipino parents in Athens, Greece, is widely considered to fly high in his caging career, what with his 6-foot-6 frame and latent talent in mastering the ramifications of the game.
That is why it is no wonder that even our neighboring countries are salivating to secure his services.
Traps were everywhere.
One is from Japan.
The other from South Korea.
Not to mention the other 11 PBA Teams harboring thoughts of spiriting him out of NorthPort.
And then this, a discovery that Navarro has signed a contract to play for the Seoul Samsung Thunders in the Korean Basketball League (KBL).
He turned back offers from teams in the Japan B. League where the likes of Ray Ray Parks, Jr., Dwight Ramos and the Ravena brothers Kiefer and Thirdy are currently playing for different teams in the so-called Land of the Rising Sun.
In signing for the KBL’s Samsung Thunders, Navarro would have joined SJ Belangel, Bacolod’s basketball sensation, as the second Filipino to play in South Korea.
But, alas, it was not meant to be.
Meaning, Navarro isn’t allowed by law to suit up for the Korean league.
Turns out he has signed two contracts—one with Gilas Pilipinas of the SBP (Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas) and the other with the Seoul Samsung Thunders of Korea.
That was illegal because he signed a contract to play for Gilas only last July, assuring him of a slot in the national team pool that will play in the Fiba World Cup qualifiers.
Then only last Sept. 12, he signed a contract to play for the Samsung Thunders.
To make sure the SBP would be doing things right, it sought clarification from the Fiba (International Basketball Federation) regarding Navarro’s two contracts.
The Fiba was direct to the point: Navarro’s contract with the Samsung Thunders was illegal while his contract with Gilas stays.
“If we agreed to Navarro’s contract with Samsung, it would have set a bad precedent,” said SBP president Al Panlilio.
Truer than true.
If Navarro were allowed to disregard his Gilas contract expiring in March 2023, what would stop the other Gilas players with live contracts to also jump the ship and hop to either Japan or South Korea?
Move on, Will. Lesson learned.
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