MANILA, Philippines – Former UAAP MVP and NBA D-League player Ray Parks was arguably the most impressive player on the court not named Andray Blatche during Gilas Pilipinas’ tune-up win against Iran on Wednesday, June 8, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Parks finished with 11 points off the bench, impressing the crowd with his improved ball-handling skills, shooting stroke, and playmaking ability. The 23-year-old Fil-Am also had an electric dunk in the second half, where the Philippines avoided a near collapse as Parks played critical minutes down the stretch of the contest.
After his performance, Parkss seemed ready to play another 4 quarters. “I still got more in the tank, that’s all I can say," declared Parks.
“We’re still feeling out each other’s roles and at the same time, the rotation, coach is still trying to make us a 12-man lineup,” he added about Gilas, which announced the 14-man roster going for training camp in Europe hours after the game.
“We’re still working on different combinations and, like I said, this trip is going to be big for us.”
The national team departs on Friday and will be back in Manila on the 28th of the month. Part of the upcoming adventure includes a 10-day training in Greece, a tune-up game against Turkey in Turkey, and a pocket tournament against China, Canada, and Italy in Italy.
The team will eventually be cut to a 12-man roster for the FIBA Olympic Qualifiers in Manila in July, with the two other players becoming reserves. A win in the OQT will earn Gilas a ticket to the 2016 Rio Olympics.
“It’s good. We’re going to be back in limbo,” said Parks, who played for the Texas Legends in the latest NBA D-League season. “That’s how I called my trip when I was in the States. I was focusing in on basketball there and nothing else, so that’s going to be the same thing going to a different country.”
When asked about being trusted by Gilas head coach Tab Baldwin to play crucial minutes late, Parks admitted that “It feels good.
“We have trust in one another,” he said about the national team, “so I guess coach trusted me to be in there and a bunch of other guys, and we pulled through.”
The dynamic forward also discussed how much more confident he feels on the court after his past year in the NBA’s developmental league.
“It’s not about the title at all. It’s not about the goals that I’ve reached. It’s about me being a new, different player,” said Parks.
“I worked so much and I feel confident in my craft. I really worked hard, so I feel confident.” – Rappler.com