Ray Parks and the Nagoya Diamond Dolphins twice got the better of Dwight Ramos and the Toyama Grouses this weekend in the B.League, but for Parks, it's all love between him and the younger Ramos.
Visiting Nagoya twice routed the Grouses this weekend, 94-68 and 99-74. Parks, after a slow start to his B.League career due to injury, is slowly getting into his groove. He had 15 points and five rebounds on Saturday, and a team-high 17 points along with six rebounds and four steals on Sunday.
He was also instrumental in limiting Ramos, particularly on Sunday when his defense forced the former Ateneo de Manila University commit to cough up four turnovers. Through his first two games, Ramos is averaging 7.5 points, 5.0 assists, and 3.0 rebounds per game for Toyama.
"It's brotherly competition," Parks said of his match-up against the 23-year-old Ramos, who emerged as a budding star for the Philippines in the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 qualifiers.
"(I) definitely have love for him. He's up-and-coming, for sure, a great player," Parks added.
Toyama had promoted their games against Nagoya as a "Filipino Showdown" between Ramos and Parks, as Pinoy players have made a splash in the B.League.
Nine Filipinos are playing in Japan's top-level basketball league this season, including two players in Division 2. Parks, who played for TNT Tropang GIGA in the PBA before signing as an Asian import in the B.League, said they are grateful to have this kind of opportunity.
"I'm just glad that you know, we Filipinos have the opportunity to play basketball in such a great country here," said Parks, who is averaging 8.8 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game while coming off the bench for the Dolphins.
"We just wanna represent our country the best way we could," he added.
Parks will get to match up against another Filipino import next week, as Nagoya hosts Kiefer Ravena and the Shiga Lakestars.
There is plenty of history between Ravena and Parks, both second-generation hoopers who have played together in the national team while also facing off multiple times during their collegiate and professional careers.
"Patuloy niyo lang po kaming suportahan dito," Parks said in a message to Filipino fans. "Hindi lang po ako sa Nagoya Diamond Dolphins, pati lahat po ng mga Pilipino, pati lahat ng naglalaro dito po sa B.League."