Last Sunday, I was seated court side during the DLSU vs NU game. The first time that these two teams met, the game turned out to be a double overtime game. It was a showdown between former Philippine teammates, Jeron Teng and the reigning UAAP MVP, Bobby Ray Parks. The two players were going at it with Jeron coming out on top of Round 1.
Ray Ray didn’t let that happen this time around. #15 exploded for 32 points and 8 rebounds, leading his Bulldogs to a 72-62 victory.
This was the first time that I was able to see Mr. Parks (this guy needs a nickname, BADLY.) in person this season. The guy did more than just impress. He absolutely killed the Green Archers in every aspect of the game. Ray Ray put on a show on the offensive end. Scoring from beyond the arc, hitting buzzer beaters, getting fouled on his drives, and even throwing it down on a fast break. Oh yeah, he played the best defense on his team as well.
That is when it really got me thinking. “Is this guy ready for the PBA? Can he make the jump?”
There is no doubt in my mind that Ray Parks is the best basketball player in the UAAP. Hands down. Sorry Kief. Apologizes sent to Greg. Pat on the back to Jeron and the two Jerics. This man is just a step above everyone else in the league. Parks has the skills, the PBA-ready body, and the pedigree.
Does this make him ready to play in the PBA? In my humble opinion, yes.
Now, should he make the jump and play in the PBA already? Again, in my humble opinion, yes.
Imagine how much the world of collegiate basketball will change if Bobby Ray Parks heads into next year’s PBA Draft. For college players in the US, playing in college is now just about getting higher in the NBA Draft. This might be the first time that we could see this in the PBA. The problem is that he can’t yet due to eligibility issues.
Based on the recently concluded PBA Draft, the requirements to join the annual event is to be four years out of high school. That doesn’t necessarily mean four years of playing in college. That includes years of residency and years that might have been sat out due to grades or injury or whatever reason. We are slowly nearing the fourth year of Ray Ray.
But, what if he could join the draft? That will change the way that college players will look at the entire basketball scene. We are a year away from that and yet I am already talking about it. That is how excited I am to see him in the PBA.
Let’s play devil’s advocate here. Let us pretend that Ray Parks can put his name in the hat for next year’s Draft. How will it all play out?
Ray will have to think that he is definitely at least a Top 2 pick. EASILY. It will come down to Greg Slaughter and Parks. Who do you take? It is the Junemar Fajardo vs Calvin Abueva argument all over again. But, I think that it will end the other way around on this debate. Here is why:
- Bobby Ray Parks was last year’s UAAP MVP. He will be the MVP again this year, barring any hitches. Greg Slaughter doesn’t have that award under his belt yet. This year is his last chance to get that trophy.
- Ray is tested against players his height, while Slaughter still might need to bang against players like Dorian Pena and Beau Belga to show that he can handle tough defenders.
- Ray Ray Parks is an entirely different player compared to Calvin Abueva. Calvin is a workhorse. Ray is a creator. Calvin is a beast on the boards. Ray will score whether you like it or not. The only thing is that Calvin will be a little undersized in the PBA. Ray won’t be.
- Parks is more disciplined as a player than Calvin Abueva. You will not hear anything about Parks punching anybody in the back of the head. Easier to handle for the coaches in the PBA.
- Bobby Ray Parks’ dad is on the Petron coaching staff. This doesn’t mean that he will end up with Petron, but this means that he is surrounded by players that are at the professional level sometimes. He knows deep down inside that he can take them. There must be times that he wants to take them. Times that he needs to take them.
Ray Ray Parks is the closest to a sure thing you will see in the Philippines for a while. I don’t see this man being a flop in any way. The guy can tear it up. Now, if only we can just see him tear it up with a Ginebra or Talk N Text uniform on. We will just have to wait a couple more years.
Til the 2014 PBA Draft, Ray. See you then. Hopefully sooner, though.
Photo by Jerome Ascano/NPPA Images