Bulked-up Bobby Ray Parks believes Gilas training bodes well for his NBA dream
“I think he’s a better player from what I saw today than the one that left,” national coach Tab Baldwin says of Bobby Ray Parks. Jerome Ascano

RAY Parks believes his training with Gilas Pilipinas will only bode well for his ambitious quest to become the first homegrown Filipino to reach the NBA.

The Filipino NBA D-League campaigner joined the national team for the first time when Gilas resumed practice on Wednesday afternoon at the Meralco gym.

“Ang laking tulong po nito para makapasok sa NBA,” Parks said. “Dream ko talaga is to make it to the NBA, hindi lang para sa akin, para sa buong bayan.”

“Madaming talented na players dito tulad ng nasa pool ng national team,” he added. “Talented sila at may tsansa sila. Gusto ko lang buksan yung eyes ng NBA sa Pilipinas.”

[See Meet the 'new' Bobby Ray Parks]

National coach Tab Baldwin can already attest to the improvement of Parks after his one-year journey in the US.

“I think he’s a better player from what I saw today than the one that left,” Baldwin said. “Right now, we’re not looking for anybody to give us advantages. We know who our players are. He’s another talented body and the onus is on him and it’s every player to earn their spot on this team.”

“We’re happy we have another international-caliber player in our pool,” added the national coach, who has two less players at his disposal with Greg Slaughter and Matt Ganuelas-Rosser ruled out of the pool due to ankle surgeries.

After playing with NBA-caliber player, Parks felt it was a seamless adjustment playing with the cream of the crop in the Philippines.

“I came from playing with NBA guys, so the PBA is just the same thing as pros,” he said. “I’m well-adjusted to it.”

The 6-foot-3 Parks has also bulked up, getting used to playing at 215 pounds, 10 more than his usual playing weight.

“I feel more comfortable with my body right now,” he said. “At two-o-five (pounds), I was easily bumped, but I just have to keep the weight on because I adjusted to the pace of the game and I played on my pace instead of just allowing everybody else to dictate me.”

“And I learned a lot throughout the year that I was gone and bulking up is part of maturity.” 

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos