Ray Parks came out of San Miguel Alab Pilipinas’ locker room at the Sta. Rosa Multi Purpose Complex ecstatic and joyous.
The sophomore guard had every right to be excited after his team swept their semifinals series against the defending champion Hong Kong Eastern Basketball Team last Sunday to punch their way to the ABL Finals.
“Man, it was a slow start. But God works in mysterious ways. He had a plan and a purpose for us,” Parks talked about their season. “It’s crazy that we lost our first two games to them (Hong Kong), now we won back-to-back.”
Last Sunday’s victory was a particularly special moment for Parks. Six years ago, his father Bobby Ray Park Sr. coached the San Miguel Beermen all the way to the Finals against the Indonesia Warriors. The team had the likes of Chris Banchero, Junmar Fajardo, Froilan Baguion, Duke Crews, and Leo Avenido, but ultimately fell to the Stanley Pringle-led Warriors. A year later in 2013, the elder Parks passed away after a long battle with cancer.
“I was thinking about that even before all of this because to be honest his last mark was in the ABL,” Parks reflected about his father. “And me, I wanted to do the ABL first before I step into the PBA (Philippine Basketball Association) or whatever God has planned for me.”
Parks Sr. was a legendary basketball figure in the Philippines. He earned the Best Import award a record seven times in his illustrious 12-year PBA career. He was an explosive scorer, a tenacious rebounder, and a fan-favorite. Parks Jr. meanwhile is carving out his own path while still honoring his father’s legacy.
“Of course, to win the championship is definitely the goal, winning the championship for him is great. And to be part of the same family – San Miguel. So it’s definitely a blessing,” Parks shared.
Parks’ father failed to win an ABL title six years and now, it’s his turn to try to bring home the trophy to the Philippines.
“It’s unfinished business for sure. And you know, we’re out here with a great group of guys who tryna handle business right now,” he confidently said. “And we’re here now, might as well take advantage.”
As Parks continues to shapes his young career and try to cement his name in ABL lore, he will do so while dedicating the Finals to his father.