FORMER back-to-back UAAP MVP Bobby Ray Parks, Jr. is set to make his long-awaited debut for NLEX on Tuesday in a game against Café France in the PBA D-League Foundation Cup.
NLEX team manager Ronald Dulatre bared to Spin.ph that Parks has been practicing with the Road Warriors since last Friday since the son of former PBA import Bobby Parks has already set to graduate from National University on april 13.
“Four days na siyang nag-eensayo kasi nakaluwag-luwag na siya sa schedule niya sa school. Graduating kasi si Ray-ray sa April 13 eh,” said Dulatre of his latest prized catch.
The Manila North Tollways Corporation treasury and finance department senior manager also quashed rumors that the reason Parks did not play in the Road Warriors' first three games in the conference was because he refused to sign the contract offered by NLEX.
“Hindi totoo 'yun. May contract na siya sa amin. Matagal na siyang nakapirma. Kasama nga siya sa lineup na we submitted to the PBA before the start of the current conference,” said Dulatre.
“Marami lang talaga siyang inasikasong requirements sa school. And hindi naman namin siya guguluhin dun, kasi studies na niya 'yun eh,” he added.
The arrival of Parks comes at a perfect time for NLEX as five of their key players are now in Lithuania to take part in the San Beda Red Lion’s training camp.
“Tamang-tama nga yung pagdating niya kahit papano may sasandalan kami,” said Dulatre, whose team will miss key stars Ola Adeogun, Baser Amer, Art Dela Cruz and Kyle Pascual in its next three games.
In the meantime, Parks will be reinforcing a nucleus made of mostly of Gilas cadets in Kevin Louie Alas, Garvo Lanete, Jake Pascual, Ronald Pascual and Matt Ganuelas.
Dulatre sees a smooth transition for Parks at NLEX.
“Okay naman. Magkakampi sa Sinag Pilipinas (SEA Games team) 'yang mga 'yan kaya magkakakilala na sila,” said Dulatre, a trusted basketball administrator of NLEX president Rodrigo Franco.
In lieu of the five San Beda players who are now in Lithuania, NLEX has activated from the reserve list Borgie Hermida, Byron Villarias, Jervy Del Rosario, Mark Pangilinan and big man Bon Sobre.
Meanwhile, Dulatre is already excited over the PBA board meeting on Thursday, where NLEX's application for an expansion franchise will be tackled and hopefully decided on.
The youthful NLEX official is optimistic that they will get the nod to join the Asia’s first play for pay league.
“We’re excited na and at the same time, we want to prove something in this conference. Alam naman nating lahat na hindi kami ang defending champion dito, di ba?” said Dulatre.
“At yung pagpasok ni Ray-Ray sa amin should also motivate our players, lalo 'yung mga candidate namin for direct hire to play harder, individually,” he said. “Pero syempre, this time is still more about team play.”