MANILA, Philippines – It may be too late for TNT swingman Ray Parks to join Gilas Pilipinas in practice, with less than a week left before the national team plays Indonesia in the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 qualifiers.
This, according to Gilas Pilipinas interim coach Mark Dickel and team manager Gabby Cui.
"A lot of players have put their hand up in (Parks') position," Dickel said. "They've done the job and really earned their opportunity here. I think for this window, it might be a little bit late."
Parks, 26, was part of the 24-man training pool named by Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) for the first window of the qualifiers in February, but has yet to show up to any practice. The former Alab Pilipinas star was involved in protracted contract negotiations with TNT KaTropa.
On Monday, he finally signed a one-year contract extension for the maximum, ending a long impasse with his mother team. Cui and Dickel both expected Parks to show up to practice for TNT, but not necessarily for Gilas Pilipinas.
"I'm just thrilled that he signed, and that he's gonna be at our practice tomorrow in Talk 'N Text," said Dickel after Gilas' practice on Monday night. "That's great news for us."
"As far as Gilas goes, these guys are all 8 or 9 days in," he also said. "So you know, maybe, we'll be thinking next window for him (Parks)."
According to Cui, Parks expressed an interest in dropping by Gilas practice to help. However, he advised the player to "concentrate on TNT."
"There's no more time na rin," Cui pointed out. "The guys have been practicing for almost two weeks. It will be hard for Ray to (catch up)."
"We want him for the other windows," he added.
Other PBA players who begged off for the upcoming qualifiers are also welcome to rejoin the training pool for the November window.
"Gilas is always there. We want all of our PBA players there, all the best players," said Cui. "We're family, and we want everyone to help, para sa bayan."
Among the PBA players who opted to sit out the upcoming qualifiers are NorthPort's Christian Standhardinger, Ginebra's Japeth Aguilar, and Phoenix's Matthew Wright.
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