FOR one semester at least, he wasn't Bobby Ray Parks the college basketball star but just another student doing on-the-job training (OJT) and fulfilling the final requirements before he graduates at National University.
It was something Parks cherished.
“It was a good experience. It was something new to me,” said the Bulldogs star. “Siyempre, out of basketball na po ‘yun. It was great. You learn from it and it’s part of life.”
Parks’ years with the Sampaloc-based school officially ended over the weekend when he graduated with a degree in Information Technology. Outside his basketball career with the Bulldogs, Parks said he also relished being a college student at NU.
“Ang sarap din ng feeling na regular na estudyante ka lang,” said Parks, a Dean’s Lister in college. “You have to go through it. Hindi binabalewala ‘yun.”
Following the UAAP season, Parks said he shifted his focus to academics even though he still played for NU in the PBA D-League. Parks also had a chance to apply what he learned when he went to an Ortigas-based firm for his OJT.
“Naglilibot ng mga computers, marami rin po,” said Parks, when asked what he did during his OJT. “Kung ano lang po pinapagawa sa akin, ginawa ko.”
The son of the late seven-time PBA Best Import awardee Bobby Parks Sr. usually finds it hard not to get noticed owing to his height and stature as one of the country's top college stars. But for a few months, he was glad to be treated as an ordinary person during his training.
“Okay naman po, minsan nahihiya na magpagawa sa akin. Pero gusto ko rin na tignan nila ako na regular person lang, ‘yung magka-level lang po tingin sa akin. I’m just a regular person playing basketball,” said Parks.
Since playing for the Bulldogs at the 2011 season, Parks brought NU to new heights, turning the perennial cellar dwellers into Final Four contenders.
Although he finished his collegiate career without a UAAP title following a disappointing end to their Season 76 campaign, Parks said he had no regrets with his three-year stint with the Bulldogs that was highlighted by two UAAP Most Valuable Player awards.
“Masakit po na hindi kami nanalo pero naibigay ko ang best ko. I did everything I could,” said Parks, who failed to win last year’s crown despite taking the top-seed at the end of the elimination round.
After his graduation, Parks only had good words to say about NU for his wonderful school experience.
“Thankful ako kay Sir Hans Sy at Sir Henry Sy, sa lahat ng delegation ng NU. They helped me especially in education. Talagang tinuro nila sa akin na kailangan kong mag-graduate. Sa tulong nila sa akin, sa tatay ko, sa pamilya ko, talagang nagpapasalamat ako sa kanila,” Parks said.