WHILE fans expect the Philippines to cruise to victory and claim its 11th straight basketball in the Southeast Asian Games, Ray Parks is quick to dispel the notion it should be a walk in the park in Kuala Lumpur in August.
The MVP of the Asean Basketball League, Parks noted the Philippines’ regional rivals have improved a lot. In the six-team professional home-and-away ABL, the Philippine-based team Alab actually made it only to the round of four.
"We just have to be ready for everybody cause everybody got better," said Parks, who was named ABL MVP while leading the Philippine contingent to a podium finish.
"Especially since coming from the ABL and seeing some of the composition, I know for a fact na basketball here in the Southeast Asia really got better."
Two years ago Parks was part of the Gilas cadets squad that swept the Seaba Championship, but was not part of the team sent to the SEA Games, where the Philippines was given a huge scare.
Thailand gave the Philippines the biggest fright, while Singapore and Indonesia are also closing the gap.
Kiefer Ravena, part of the 2015 Philippine squad, will now team up with Parks and Fil-German Christian Standhardinger.
Others in the team are Mike Tolomia, Baser Amer, Kiefer Ravena, Almond Vosotros, Von Pessumal, Kevin Ferrer, Kobe Paras, Carl Cruz, Raymar Jose and Troy Rosario.
"I still believe in our team, in coach Chot and the system that we put together," he said.