Reigning Local MVP Ray Parks has somewhat taken a backseat this season in terms of providing points for Alab Pilipinas.
Through the team’s first 10 games, the potent scorer has only averaged 13.5 points, to go along with 5.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists. With the addition of World Imports Justin Brownlee and Renaldo Balkman, who are walking double-doubles, Parks has previously expressed that he doesn’t need to score a ton of points anymore.
But on Wednesday against the Chong Son Kung Fu Basketball Club, Parks reminded everyone that he can have a scoring explosion at any given night.
The 6-foot-2 shooting guard lit up the scoreboard for a season-high 31 points on a crisp 61 percent shooting clip and added six boards and two dimes. Every time the Philippine team found itself struggling for a basket, Parks was there to provide reprieve.
“We were looking for our imports like we usually do but their shots weren’t falling,” Parks humbly said after Alab came away with a thrilling 94-91 overtime win at home. “So coach Jimmy (Alapag) just trusted me and my teammates looked for me and got me going. I was able to connect on my shots.”
At halftime against the second-best team in the league, Brownlee was only 1-for-8 from the field for three measly points while Balkman had a quiet 11 points. Kung Fu were determined to shut down the two imports. ABL veteran Justin Howard was all over Balkman while Kung Fu sent the Caelan Tiongson to shadow Brownlee. On the defensive end, it was equally tough for Brownlee who had to try to slow down the lethal scorer, Anthony Tucker.
“When Justin Brownlee was on Tucker, he was kinda struggling in the first half. The coaches did a great adjustment into saying, ‘Ray, get Tucker,’” Parks explained. “So Justin Brownlee, puts his foot on the gas. It’s an easier load on him.”
With Parks shifting his focus on Tucker on the defensive end, Brownlee was able to score a total of 17 points in the second half and overtime period.
Both Brownlee and Balkman eventually ended up with a pair of double-doubles but it was Parks’ steady scoring that kept Alab in the game. And for the young 24-year-old, it’s all about doing whatever it takes in order for his team to be successful.
“I just do what the team needs me to do. We’re here to support the imports,” he shared. “Doesn’t matter if it’s rebounding, having to defend the best player, just to lessen the load on Justin Brownlee and also on Renaldo Balkman. I’ll do whatever.”
Parks may have had modest numbers so far this season, but his 31-point output on Wednesday was a reminder that last season’s Local MVP can still put up big numbers. However, Parks is already looking at the bigger picture – beyond another MVP plum.
“We’re gunning really for a championship and we’re doing everything we can. It takes a lot of sacrifice individually to play as a team,” Parks said. “Whoever scores the most points we don’t care. Everybody here is doing their role. We’re not forcing shots. We’re here to support the imports.”
Parks can score 10, 20, or 30, on any given night. But if it were up to him, he’d rather take home the win each and every time. For the reigning Local MVP, it’s all about doing anything his team needs.