It was hard to miss Alab Pilipinas star, Bobby Ray Parks Jr., from the crowd of attendants of the first Gilas Pilipinas practice since their SEABA Championship run earlier in May.
Parks sported a bright red bandana and made sure that each and every movement he made displayed how proud he was to be at this practice and to have another chance to representing the Philippines National Team.
“It’s a pleasure being able to tryout for the team,” Parks said afterwards. “It’s huge. I’m always ready when my country calls, so representing the country again is definitely an honor.”
Parks recently represented the Philippines in the ASEAN Basketball League as a member of Alab Pilipinas. He was named the ABL Local MVP after averaging 19.0 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 4.2 assists and breaking multiple records along the way. Eyes were fixed on Parks throughout the entire season, waiting to see how well he would do.
“To be honest, I’ve been going through it my whole career.” Parks said of the ABL experience. “I feel like I have a chip on my shoulder where I have to show people that I’m working hard and, at the same time, that I’m ready to play.”
This was the first practice session for the Philippines National Team in preparation for the 39th William Jones Cup (Taiwan), 29th SEA Games (Kuala Lumpur), and FIBA Asia Championship 2017.
The ASEAN Basketball League was also represented in the Philippines National Team practice with Raymar Jose who was called up to tryout for the Senior National Team for the first time. Parks’ teammate on Alab Pilipinas, Kiefer Ravena, was also called up but wasn’t available since he was still in France playing in the FIBA 3×3 World Cup.
“Being able to see familiar faces is great.” Parks said. “Maybe it’s just me feeling old and stuff.”
At the end of the session, all of the players gathered around at center court to take turns at attempting a halfcourt heave. Parks was almost the last player to make their attempt. He casually took a couple of dribbles, gathered, and let the ball fly towards the hoop.
The Filipino forward flashed out a grin as he turned back to a wave of laughters and cheers from his team mates. He’s ready to show everyone that he wants this chance to represent the nation.
“Every single time you put a jersey out there and tell each and every one of our countrymen to fight for it, people are going to fight for it because we love the sport of basketball. We love representing out country,” Parks says. “Just being chosen for this team will be huge for me.”