I have always been a big fan of Bobby Ray Parks, Jr. I always thought that this guy has what it takes to be one of the best basketball players in the Philippines. He has the height, the strength, and the athleticism to make him a game changer in the realm of Philippine basketball.
In the middle of the last UAAP season, I wrote that Ray Parks should consider making the big jump to the PBA. I still stand by that. But, that is not what we are here to talk about. There is something bigger than that right now. The biggest basketball event that the country will see in a very long time.
The FIBA-Asia Cup in August.
Former head coach of the Ateneo Blue Eagles and recently crowned Philippine Cup Champion coach in Norman Black told InterAKTV that he believes Ray Parks should be on the national team. This is what he had to say exactly.
“I think Ray Parks should be included in the team,” Black said. “He’s one of the best amateur players.”
“That was the first time I handled him. At first I thought he’s a type of player who’s there to shoot, but it turned out he did so many things for our team. In fact, he was our team’s best defender,” said Black.
“He’s a big guard and he can certainly help the team a lot.”
Coach Norman wants Ray-Ray on Gilas Pilipinas. And I agree. Before you go all nuts on me, hear me out.
Again, Ray Parks has got to be the most athletically gifted collegiate player in the game right now. The dude is a beast on the floor because of the god-given body that he has. He can throw it down and simply outrun players on the open court. And who wouldn’t want to see a Ray-Ray chasedown block in the FIBA-Asia tournament.
The NU Bulldog is the best collegiate player we have seen in a very long time. He has the shooting to keep defenses honest. He has the vastly improved defense that can definitely be utilized on the Philippine team. Parks is a big guard that likes to drive and score or drive and dish. That obviously makes him a good fit for Coach Chot Reyes’ system.
I am not talking about giving this kid a spot on the starting five. Obviously, he is nowhere near that as of right now. But, would it really hurt if we give him the #12 spot on the line-up? How much would that really take away from the team?
I don’t think very much.
At any point that this kid decides to go into the PBA Draft, he would go number 1. That is how good he really is. And, you know that. So, why not give him the Christian Laettner treatment?
How can The Dream Team have the least athletic player in all of sports on that team? Is it because he won a national title and Shaq didn’t? Is it because the rest of the team somehow knew that Laettner would be really good at doing laundry?
Anthony Davis got onto the latest Team USA line-up as well. He was a big man with one freaking eyebrow. The unibrow got a gold medal with that team. He was the token collegiate player. The guy to make the McDonald’s run at 11pm. That dude that will carry everyone’s bags. What if Ray Parks is super awesome at carrying bags? What if he is a food delivery extraordinaire? You never know.
Then again, the games are going to be played here in Manila at the Mall of Asia Arena. Which reminds me that the games will be played ON HIS HOME COURT. The NU Bulldogs can actually say that they run the place. And he can honestly say that he runs the team. Ray knows the floor. He knows the locker room. He knows where the good food is in the food court area. The saying “gamay na niya yung court” more than applies to the two-time UAAP MVP.
As for those that will use the “Team USA didn’t need their 12th man and we do” argument, I completely agree. Let’s not use that last spot on someone that we cannot use. Ray Parks is someone that we can actually use. He brings too much to the table to just be deemed “useless” on the team. He is not Christian Laettner.
Can you imagine what kind of experience and exposure can come from playing at that level? He could just go nuts in the UAAP after banging with PBA players on a daily basis leading up to the tournament. The mileage that he could get while playing in the FIBA-Asia Cup could make him even better than he already is.
There are just too many positives to leave him off the team. And with all of the potential scouts there, to use another pinoy saying, “Malay mo! Baka ma-discover!”