The ultimate dream for back-to-back UAAP MVP Bobby Ray Parks Jr. is still to become the second basketball player with Filipino roots to make it to the NBA.
But for now, the National University star is primarily focused on helping the Bulldogs notch their first men’s cage title in the country’s top collegiate league in more than half a century or since 1954.
Parks, who turned 20 last month, and his father and namesake, had said that they were planning to go to the United States to try out for some NBA teams at the end of UAAP Season 75.
But the dream to follow in the footsteps of Filipino-American Raymond Townsend, the first player with Pinoy roots to make it to the NBA, having played four years for the Golden State Warriors from 1978, appears on hold as Parks focuses on the Bulldogs' buildup for the next season.
The elder Parks is also dealing with health issues, which Bobby Ray declined to discuss.
“Right now, I’m still talking to some (NBA) teams but, of course, I’m trying to bring a championship to NU. That’s my first priority right now,” Parks said when Spin.ph caught up with him at The Arena in San Juan last Saturday when NU won its inaugural men’s volleyball title at the expense of Far Eastern University.
“And of course finish my studies because I’ll graduate by next year,” the information technology student and consistent dean’s lister added.
Parks, who’s still recovering from a torn ligament in his right hand he sustained in practice, came out to support the men’s volleyball team, where he is “good friends with a couple of players and we practice together at the same time.”
“As an athlete, you want people to come out and support you and even if I play a different sport, I’m still interested in the game of volleyball and support the school.”
The breakthrough men’s volleyball title is a consolation of sorts for Parks, who led the Bulldogs to their first Final Four in years only to fall to University of Santo Tomas.
“It brings back school pride and definitely a stepping stone for the volleyball team and sports in general for NU students.”