Ray Parks Jr. is a rookie in the PBA, but his play in 2 games so far for Blackwater demonstrates that he’s far from a newcomer in professional basketball.
For all intents and purposes, he’s a veteran who knows how to win.
Parks proved that when he led his team to a dramatic 108-107 win over defending Commissioner’s Cup champion Barangay Ginebra on Friday.
He scored 10 of his 28 points in overtime, including a pair of 3-pointers that gave the Elite enough separation to nail the victory.
“I appreciate the coach’s trust in me, keeping me in the game and putting me in position to get the ball,” Parks said. “It’s just great. Each game is just part of the motivation.”
It wasn’t just on offense where Parks carried much of the load, but also on defense where his assignment was to contain Justin Brownlee.
Parks and Brownlee were teammates when San Miguel Alab Pilipinas won the ASEAN Basketball League championship last year. In the same campaign, Parks won the Most Valuable Player award, playing a key role just as Brownlee did in the title run.
On Friday, Brownlee may have gotten away with 44 points on an efficient scoring performance, but Parks’ two-way play showed his willingness to contribute on both ends of the floor.
“The team is young and hungry,” Parks said.
“So right now, our young legs gave us the lift to push and go into overtime for the second time straight. It’s a test of character.”
Parks has been exposed to every level of basketball available to a Filipino player.
He was a 2-time UAAP MVP, a 3-time ABL MVP and a PBA D-League MVP. He won a championship each in the ABL and PBA D-League, and 3 gold medals wearing the national colors in the Southeast Asian Games. Parks also saw action in the NBA G-League.
Against Brownlee and a battle-tested Ginebra squad, Parks showed he could go up against a top-notch opponent and handle moments under pressure.
“I love playing big games, and I love playing against great competition. Ginebra’s one of the best teams,” Parks said.
“Just having that crowd environment too is great. Today was just the breaks of the game and we ended up with the win.”
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