Tyler Lamb and Bobby Ray Parks Jr. have had their fair share of match-ups in the ABL playing for the Hong Kong Eastern Long Lions and Alab Pilipinas, respectively. ABL fans can attest that their clashes have had their moments, including an early season meet where they both flirted a triple-double. Both players wrapped up their outstanding season with well-deserved ABL MVPs in their respective category, Lamb as a Heritage Import and Parks Jr. as a Local.
It was inevitable that their paths would cross once again sooner than expected when both were announced to be on their national team’s rosters that would be playing in the SEA Games.
“I know the first game is going to be against Thailand so I guess I’ll see Tyler [Lamb].” Parks said when asked who he might be looking forward to play against in the SEA Games.
Lamb would instantly be matched up against Parks Jr. as his defensive assignment. Throughout the entire game they would have their moments against each other, swinging the momentum back and forth between both teams. Lamb would hit a shot on one end, and Parks would just answer with an acrobatic lay-up on the other.
The duel would reach it’s climax with five minutes left in the fourth quarter. Lamb had the ball with Thailand up by one and had his eyes set on extending the lead. Parks had been hounding him all night and continued to do so, even after Lamb tried to shake him off with a screen. Lamb tried another crossover, but Parks succeed in poking ball away and the two exploded towards the loose ball.
Lamb lunged out of desperation and instinctively wrapped his arms around Parks as he turned around. The two stars sprawled onto the hardwood with a thud as the whistle sounded for a foul. Lamb knew he had 4 fouls and he calmly accepted this 5th and final foul, raising his hand after he slowly got up.
Parks nearly leaped back up with help from Alab Pilipinas team mate, Kiefer Ravena, and was not shy to express his passion after that stellar defensive play. He knew how much Lamb had meant to the Thailand National Team and how much it meant to get him to foul out.
“Tyler’s a great player, great scorer,” Parks says. “You can only limit him, you can’t completely stop him and our team did a great job doing that.”
“It was a tight game all the way to the end. That fifth foul kind of killed me,” Lamb says. “That was tough, thats going to hurt for a while.”
Lamb had been hitting big shot after big shot in the second half up and was able to score 17 points despite Parks’ top-notch lockdown defense on the Thai-American forward. Thailand failed to recover and eventually lost the game in nail-biting fashion 81-74.
“[I] Definitely wanted to win this game,” Lamb admits. “This was a big game. Starting off, we knew we were going to face a tough Philippines team. I played against a couple of players on that team you know Ray Parks [and Jose]. They came out and played hard. Our guys came out and played hard too. It was a tight game all the way to the end.”
Despite the pain of the loss, Lamb still had positive vibes towards their friendly ABL rivalry.
“It feels good playing against players from the ABL in here,” Lamb says. “Just to see other players from the ABL doing well in this tournament, it’s a nice feeling. Honestly, I hope they don’t win – you know what I’m saying – well wishes to all the players from the ABL that are playing for their countries right now. It means a lot and I know it means a lot to me, so congrats to [the Philippines] on winning the first [game] and hopefully we can get it next time.”
Parks also expressed the same sentiments on playing against these players whom had battled against for an entire ABL season.
“It’s great,” Parks says. “It just goes to show you that the ABL has great talent right now. At the end of the day, we’re here to represent our countries. We’re great competitors and we played our roles.”
Both MVPs know that this was just the beginning of a long road in the SEA Games and they are surely looking forward to clash with each other again, possibly with a Gold Medal at stake.