NATIONAL University is not shutting the door on Bobby Ray Parks even as the two-time UAAP Most Valuable Player plans to explore his options in the United States before deciding on a basketball career in the Philippines.
A member of the NU coaching staff said Parks’ status with the team remains ‘uncertain,’ but insised the Bulldogs are ready to play without their biggest star when the next UAAP season unfolds.
“Si Bobby Ray, uncertain pa,” said NU assistant coach Joey Guanio. “But we are preparing for the absence of maybe five people (for the UAAP).”
Parks erased NU’s tag of perennial losers in the UAAP after he led the squad to Final Four appearances in 2012 and 2013. In Season 76, Parks helped NU bag the number one seed in the semifinal round but it failed to advance past University of Santo Tomas.
Outside the UAAP, Parks has also won two gold medals in the Southeast Asian Games including last year in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar.
Charlie Dy, Parks’ representative, said the son of the late PBA import Bobby Parks will be pushing through with his plan to move to the United States after finishing his course with NU this March.
Dy hinted that Parks will first seek an ‘opportunity’ in the United States before considering a basketball career in the Philippines.
“After he graduates this March, he’ll go to his mom in the US,” said Dy. “Then, if there is any opportunity for him there, he’ll stay first.”
With the possibility of Parks not playing next season, Guanio said the team is now trying to adopt a team-oriented system since Bulldogs are also set to be without Emmanuel Mbe and Robin Rono next season.
Mbe, NU's longtime starting center, has already graduated.
The Bulldogs are also seeing action in the ongoing PBA D-League Aspirants Cup carrying the NU-Banco De Oro colors. Although Parks is also playing, the Bulldogs’ campaign in the developmental league will help the team adjust to a new system, Guanio said.
“We are trying a new system wherein everybody will contribute. ‘Yung dati naming system took us three years. We are fast-tracking everything kaya wala kaming offseason,” Guanio said.