MANILA, Philippines -- Ray Parks Jr. did a little bit of everything for Blackwater Elite on Sunday, when he made his long-awaited debut in the PBA against the Meralco Bolts.
Joining the Elite for the Commissioner's Cup after missing all of the Philippine Cup, Parks put up 20 points, 8 rebounds, 3 steals, and 2 assists in his debut. He did not shoot particularly well, making only 6-of-19 shots, including just one of 6 three-pointers, and committed 8 turnovers as well.
His split at the line with under 10 seconds left in overtime gave Meralco a glimmer of hope, but the Elite held on for a 94-91 win -- giving Parks a winning start to his PBA career.
"We got the win, most important thing. Rough shooting night, still adjusting, but at the end of the day, we got the win," said Parks after the game, wherein he played over 41 minutes.
Parks, 26, tried his luck in the United States then played three seasons for Alab Pilipinas in the ASEAN Basketball League before eventually debuting in the PBA. He experienced great success in the ABL, winning a championship and three MVPs, but is now eager to start anew in the PBA.
"I mean, it's good now that I'm in the PBA. Sana masaya na sila," he said.
"For me, I'm happy to be here, I'm happy to help the team. I just wanna start this new chapter in my career here in the PBA, and I'm excited for it," he added.
The former National University star has high hopes for his team, noting that it was not just him who stepped on up Sunday against Meralco. Three other players reached double-digits, including Mike DiGregorio who had 21 points.
Import Alex Stepheson recovered from a slow start to put up 21 points and 31 rebounds, while Allein Maliksi had 12 points of his own.
"The firepower of the team is there. It's just we have to put it together and get used to playing with one another, especially going throughout the season," said Parks.
"We know we're not gonna be perfect the first day, we know we have a lot to work on. But this is a great win to build upon," he added.
Parks and the Elite will be tested anew on Friday when they take on Barangay Ginebra in their second game of the conference.
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