MANILA, Philippines -- Blackwater rookie Ray Parks Jr. has no doubt that he and the Elite are "for real," after they started the 2019 PBA Commissioner's Cup with three consecutive victories.
The Elite took solo lead in the league standings on Sunday after a 118-110 triumph over Columbian Dyip that lifted their record to 3-0. They also own overtime wins over the Meralco Bolts and the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings.
They have a pair of tough games against Phoenix and Rain or Shine next week, but even now, Parks believes that their team is one that cannot be taken lightly.
"We're for real. We're for real. That's one thing I can say, we're for real," Parks declared when asked if their games against Phoenix and ROS will show if they are "for real."
"It's a different type of Blackwater right now, and my thing is, these games, they're no fluke," he added. "We took teams down to the wire, it just happens the breaks of the game, it came our way."
"Those are great teams."
They outlasted Meralco in their first game, before Parks powered the team to a gritty win over Ginebra in their second. Against Columbian Dyip, they got five players in double-digits -- Parks had 23 -- and pulled away late in the final period.
Parks said that their performances in their first three games is a result of the hard work put in by everyone in their organization. "We're just reaping the benefits right now," said the rookie.
Yet even as he expressed his confidence in his team, Parks is also well aware that they are still a young team. Head coach Aris Dimaunahan stressed after the win that consistency will be crucial for Blackwater, especially as they progress further in the tournament.
"We have to still continue to grow in our character, which is being a defensive-minded team," Parks said in agreement with his coach.
"Hopefully, we continue to just grow, continue to build, continue to dig, continue to build into our character," he also said.
Having Parks goes a long way towards Blackwater's progress in the league. Dimaunahan has already lauded his rookie for his willingness to take on big defensive assignments after Parks asked to guard Ginebra's stalwart import, Justin Brownlee, in their previous game.
"It's a testament of how he wants to be a great PBA player, of how he wants to be a great two-way player," said Dimaunahan of his prized rookie.
"He has a big impact on what we're trying to do right here," he stressed.
Parks, who won three Local MVP awards in the ASEAN Basketball League before making his PBA debut in the Commissioner's Cup, is currently averaging 23.67 points, 5.33 rebounds, and 3.0 assists per game for the still unbeaten Elite (3-0).
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