Gilas Pilipinas coach Tab Baldwin announced that he included Filipino-American Bobby Ray Parks Jr. in the national training pool for the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament set on July 5 to 10 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City. The training camp will begin May 18.
Parks is the son of the late Bobby Parks, a seven-time recipient of the Best Import award in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).
“We already invited him to join us and we expect him to be in practice. Yes, I already included him [in the pool]. Let’s see how he can contribute and what he can provide,” Baldwin told The Manila Times in a phone interview on Wednesday.
Parks, 23, a former National University Bulldog is two-time University Athletic Association of the Philippines Most Valuable Player. He just finished playing for the Texas Legends in the National Basketball Association Developmental League.
The Legends is an affiliate of the NBA team Dallas Mavericks. Parks played for the Mavericks in the Summer League before entering the NBA D-League.
“Parks is already in the country because the NBA Developmental League is now through,” Baldwin said. “So far, we have so many players in the pool right now from the amateur up to the professional ranks. We will cut the line-up from 24 to 13 a week before the qualifying starts.”
Baldwin added that 6’11 naturalized Filipino Andray Blatche would arrive in Manila on the 15th or 16th of May to attend the training camp. Blatche, 29, who just finished playing in a professional league in China has served as reinforcement for Gilas in different overseas tournaments since 2014.
“He [Blatche] will be there next week,” said Baldwin. “I’m hopeful he’s okay and ready to suit up when he arrives.”
Besides Parks and Blatche, amateur players Kevin Ferrer, Kiefer Ravena, Roger Pogoy, Mac Belo and Russel Escoto are also included in the training pool.
The professional players that will join the pool are San Miguel Beer’s June Mar Fajardo and Marcio Lassiter, Talk ‘N Text’s Jayson Castro, Matt Ganuelas-Rosser, Troy Rosario, Ryan Reyes and Ranidel De Ocampo, Barangay Ginebra’s Greg Slaughter, LA Tenorio and Japeth Aguilar, Alaska’s Calvin Abueva, GlobalPort’s Terrence Romeo Rain or Shine’s Paul Lee, Jeff Chan and Gabe Norwood, as well as Star Hotshots’ Jean Marc Pingris.
Gilas Pilipinas, under the tutelage of Baldwin, finished second in last year’s FIBA Asia Olympic Qualifying Tournament in China.
Host China won the gold and bagged a Rio Olympics berth. The Philippines and other 18 countries will dispute the remaining three Olympic slots in the July qualifiers.