SANTA ROSA, Laguna—Ray Parks Jr. accomplished not only a personal mission when he helped San Miguel Alab Pilipinas win the ASEAN Basketball League title, but he also fulfilled a family one that involved his father.
“Dad, we did it,” was Parks’ opening statement when he met the press after Alab downed Mono Vampire in Game 5 of the ABL finals here on Wednesday.
Parks’ father Bobby was the head coach of the San Miguel Beermen squad that finished runner-up to Indonesia Warriors in the 2012 season.
Parks Jr. had said it would be “great” if he won one for his dad, who died in 2013; on Wednesday, the son was able to bridge his father’s legacy.
“It was such a beautiful feeling and to win it in front of your countrymen makes all the trouble worthwhile,” Parks said.
In his ABL debut in the 2016-17 season, he was a key contributor in Alab’s successful campaign that fell just short of a finals appearance. He took home the MVP award for locals, but wished he could have gotten the bigger trophy.
It looked like his fortunes weren’t going to change in 2017-18 or would worsen even after Alab struggled early in the season, but team management didn’t let him and the rest of the squad down.
Officials pulled the trigger and brought in the two names that would alter the team’s trajectory and the league’s landscape as a whole.
“Coach did a great job in bringing in great guys, Renaldo Balkman and Justin Brownlee. It’s been a crazy ride,” Parks said.
In Game 5, Parks scored 13 points and more importantly, like the rest of the series, he did a great job checking Mono Vampire playmaker Jason Brickman, considered the engine that drives the Thailand club’s offense.
For the finals, Parks averaged 22 points and 5.6 rebounds with field-goal, free-throw and 3-point shooting splits of 51.4%, 84.6% and 50%, respectively, numbers that got him finals MVP nod.
To cap off his dream campaign, Parks said he relished the chance to play for his boyhood idol.
“I thank coach Jimmy whom I really do look up to. I remember when I was young, riding the bus from Parañaque to Cubao to watch his games,” Parks said. “Now we’re winning titles together.”
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