MANILA, Philippines -- While it's not new for Ray Parks to put up big numbers for TNT Tropang Giga in the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup, his performance on Wednesday night was still quite special for the sophomore swingman.
With TNT on the brink of elimination in the semifinals, Parks responded with a sublime performance. He scored 36 points -- 17 of which came in the pivotal fourth quarter -- to power the Tropang Giga to a hard-earned 102-101 win over Phoenix Super LPG.
The win tied the best-of-five series at two games apiece and forced a do-or-die affair on Friday. Parks was quick to stress after the game that credit went to the entire TNT team, as they weathered Phoenix Super LPG's repeated attempts to crawl out of a double-digit hole.
"It's more of a team effort at the end of the day. It's not just me. Everybody played their part," said Parks, who made 10 of his 16 attempts including five of his eight three-pointers. "And you know that Phoenix is such a great team. They're physical, they're well-coached, they have talent."
What made his performance -- and the win -- all the more important for Parks is that it came on the eve of his late father's birthday. Bobby Parks Sr. would have celebrated his 59th birthday on Thursday.
The elder Parks -- one of the most celebrated imports in the history of the PBA -- died in March 2013 after a long battle with laryngeal cancer.
"It's my dad's birthday tomorrow and it means the world to me to try and get this win. I definitely miss him," said Parks.
"And you know, we all go through our struggles, but at the end of the day… The PBA gave us a great chance to take out our aggression, to take out our frustration and just to play the game that we love," he added.
The teams face off again on Friday, with a spot in the All-Filipino Cup Finals on the line. It gives Parks just one day to rest and recover after playing 46 minutes in Game 4.
"We're fighting for our lives here," Parks said as he shrugged off the long minutes. "And you know, the quarantine really helped in some ways in order to get in the best shape I could possibly get in."
"And really, it's just the coaching staff, strength and conditioning coach, nutritionist. It's just a collective effort at the end of the day," he added.