RAY Parks and San Miguel–Alab Pilipinas are three wins away from claiming a maiden Asean Basketball League (ABL) title, something the second generation superstar said would be ‘extra-special.’
In his maiden year in the regional league, Parks made an immediate impact as he was named the local MVP of the tournament, although Alab fell short of winning it all after being swept by the Singapore Slingers in the semifinals.
Now he's closer than ever.
“Each and everytime and you go out there for a championship, alongside great players, it’s really special. I won a championship in the D-League and in tournaments with Gilas in the SEA Games, but the ABL is different,” said Parks.
“Right now it’s a professional level where they play at a high, high level of play with great athletes. The ABL is not a pushover league, it’s a tough league. I’ve seen it grow from last year to this year so I expect it to keep going,” he added.
The fact that his father, the late great PBA import Bobby Ray Parks Sr., had unfinished business in the league is enough motivation for the two-time UAAP MVP to win it all.
The elder Parks’ final foray into basketball was with the San Miguel Beermen in the ABL, where the Philippine side lost to the Indonesia Warriors in his only year as a head coach in 2012 before falling ill.
“It would be great to win the championship. It’s big because of my dad so it will be big for me to try and win this one,” said the former National University star.
But he knows Mono Vampire squad is no pushover.
The Thai side entered the playoffs as the No. 4 seed and had to go through the quarterfinals and overcome homecourt disadvantage in the semifinals. But like Alab, Mono is still unbeaten in the playoffs after knocking off Singapore in the quarters and top-seed Chong Son Kung Fu in the semis.
“They’re definitely a tough team. They have a great engine and they’ve been playing games, championship games in the TBL (Thailand Basketball League) so I know they have camaraderie and experience when it comes to championship games,” said Parks.
“We just need to lock in and continue to grow from our last games. Continue to get better and stick to our character which is defense and playing with speed.”