Filipino-American cager Bobby Ray Parks Jr. said that he would put to use his experience playing in the National Basketball Association Developmental League (NBA D-League), if given a chance to play for Gilas Pilipinas in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament set on July 5 to 10 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
No player in the pool is assured yet of a slot in the final roster and Parks said that the goal is to learn as much as he can from Gilas Pilipinas national coach Tab Baldwin.
“It was good and lots of learning,” Parks, 23, told The Manila Times after the team’s practice. “I’m praying for it [to be included in the final 12]and hopeful, but you can’t expect too much. Expectation will let you down, you just have to motivate yourself.”
Parks recently played for the Texas Legends in the NBA D-League under former NBA player Nick Van Exel.
“I learned a lot from the NBA and I’m very much willing to bring all those stuff to Gilas,” Parks said. “Van Exel is really a good coach and Tyrone Gordon is really a good trainer. They really supported me. I will be staying here in Manila to attend the Gilas practice until July. Coach Tab [Baldwin] wanted me to play the No. 3 spot so far,” said Parks.
Parks, who posted an average of 4.6 points and 1.9 rebounds in 13 minutes for the Texas Legends this season, is grateful to Van Exel for boosting his confidence. The Legends are affiliated with the Dallas Mavericks team in the NBA.
“He [Van Exel] wanted me to return to the NBA D-League and he always encourages me to pursue my dream to play in the NBA,” he added. “I feel I’m ready. I’m doing a lot of work in the gym and people appreciate it when I posted it on my Instagram.”
Baldwin is happy with the inclusion of the 6’3” Parks in the pool, “In such way, Parks is an international caliber type of a player and he provides us an international quality. He deserved to have an opportunity to be here in the pool,” he said.
Baldwin didn’t issue any assurance that Parks is already included in the final 12. “The selection is the biggest issue right now; it is our main concern now,” he said.
Baldwin also confirmed that Greg Slaughter of Barangay Ginebra and Matt Rosser-Ganuelas of Talk ‘N Text would miss the pool because of ankle injuries.
“Greg is scheduled to undergo surgery and he is out until the qualifying tournament. If you can find a Filipino seven-footer to replace him, the better. He won’t be replaced,” said Baldwin.
Besides Parks, the other 11 members of the pool are Jayson Castro, June Mar Fajardo, Marc Pingris, Ranidel De Ocampo, Terrence Romeo, LA Tenorio, Japeth Aguilar, Troy Rosario, Ryan Reyes, Kiefer Ravena and Mo Tautuaa.
The Philippines, Serbia and Italy serve as host countries of the Olympic qualifiers.
JOSEF T. RAMOS