FOLLOWING the stunning fall of top seed National University in the UAAP Final Four, a good friend of Bobby Ray Parks readily commiserated with the Bulldogs’ top gunner.
“I feel sorry for Ray,” admitted close pal Kiefer Ravena. “Sad ako para sa kanya because everyone thought ito na `yung year niya. But we really have to give credit to UST."
Ravena and Parks have forged a friendship after playing together for the Sinag Pilipinas team that captured the basketball gold in the 2011 South East Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia.
And so when the Bulldogs failed to advance to the Finals despite a twice-to-beat advantage against the UST Tigers — including the deciding 69-76 loss Saturday night — Ravena was the first to defend Parks.
“Yun lang talaga we can’t say anything about Ray. He played injured all throughout the year,” said the Ateneo star, pointing out to the bone spurs the NU stalwart had to endure for the entire season.
But despite the setback, Ravena believes Parks will have more chances of winning a UAAP championship while stressing it won’t be that easy.
“Syempre, there will be more chances for him to get that championship, pero of course, hindi ko siya papahintulutan na makuha ’yun next year,” said Ravena laughing.
To help uplift the spirit of the two-time league MVP, Ravena said he is looking forward to playing again with the hard-nosed 6-foot-4 forward in the SEA Games in Myanmar this December.
“I am really hoping magkakasama kami ulit. Alam mo si Ray, ibibigay niya lahat pag gusto niya. So yun ang pinaka-maganda sa kanya pag teammate mo siya,” he said. “Maasahan mo talaga siya na hanggang dulo hindi bibigay.”
“So karangalan ko talaga kung makasama ko siya ulit sa national team,” said Ravena, who already received an invite to join the national team last Saturday.
The second generation collegiate star and eldest of the two playing sons of former PBA player Bong Ravena said he will understand if ever Parks begs off from joining Sinag Pilipinas.
“May injury talaga siya eh. Ang alam ko nga baka kailanganin pa ng surgery. Pero let’s hope hindi worse para makalaro pa rin siya,” he added.