Gilas pals Ravena, Parks see 'bright future' for Kobe Paras in pro ranks
Kiefer Ravena and Ray Parks Jr. (not in picture) immediately supported Kobe Paras' decision to turn his back on Cal State Northridge and turn pro. Jerome Ascano

KIEFER Ravena and Bobby Ray Parks both expressed support for Gilas Pilipinas teammate Kobe Paras’ decision to turn pro, expressing hope that he might just be the first-ever Filipino to make it to the NBA.

On Friday, the high-flying Paras announced on social media his decision to forego his remaining playing years at Cal State Northridge and play professionally.

Although he made no mention of where he is headed, not a few are speculating the former FIBA slam dunk champion could be looking to apply for the NBA draft this June.

Nothing really wrong with that, said Parks and Ravena, who both attempted to make it to the top basketball league in the world by way of the NBA D-League (now G-League).

“Just continue to trust the process. He has a bright future,” said Parks of the 6-foot-6 wingman.

Ravena added: “Ganun talaga mag-decide. If Kobe feels that way, hopefully we just continue to support a kid’s dream. Ganyan naman dapat tayo bilang Pilipino.”

Both Parks and Ravena know where they are coming from.

The 25-year-old Parks wasn’t selected in the 2015 NBA draft, but worked out with teams such as Utah, Brooklyn, Dallas, Atlanta, and Boston.

But he did play for the Mavericks in their Summer League where he averaged 3.0 points, 1.7 rebounds in six games, a stint that later paved the way for him to be selected in the NBA G-League draft by the Texas Legends, the minor league affiliate of the Mavericks.

Parks has since returned to the country and now plays for Alab Pilipinas in the Asean Basketball League (ABL).

After finishing his playing eligibility with Ateneo, Ravena also tried to pursue an NBA career by spending time in the US.  He hooked up, too, with the Texas Legends as a developmental player.

By the end of last year, Ravena momentarily put aside that plan to apply for the PBA draft, where he was picked No. 2 overall pick by NLEX. He is currently making waves for the Road Warriors in the ongoing Philippine Cup.

One thing going for Paras, according to Ravena, is him being based in the U.S.

“Not saying na walang competition dito. Pero once you try it out there, it’s a different game,” said the two-time UAAP MVP, who currently leads the race for the Rookie of the Year honor this early.

Parks, also a two-time UAAP MVP out of National University, said Paras’ career move is indeed, a big gamble.


“It’s a big leap and a big decision, but I know for a fact that he has thought things through and received counsel from the people nearest to him,” said the son of the late great PBA Best Import Bobby Parks.

Ravena, son of former PBA player and TnT deputy Bong and elder brother of Ateneo standout Thirdy, agreed with Parks.

“Decision niya yun and I’m pretty sure it wasn’t just his decision. Kasama na dun ang parents niya, yung siblings niya,” he said. “Sa ganyang mga bagay malaking tulong talaga yung suporta ng pamilya.”

Together, the three played like one happy family with Gilas Pilipinas last year when they helped the team retain the basketball gold in the Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Their acknowledged father, coach Jong Uichico, wished one his sons good luck in his new endeavor.

“He has the potential to be a very good player. I wish him all the best,” he said.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @gerardmos