AS the shotclock went down to its last few ticks in a game against Ateneo, National University star Bobby Ray Parks dribbled the the seconds away as he patiently waited for a double-team to come.
Once it did, Parks willingly gave the ball up to Denice Villamor who had cut loose from his defender with a cut along the baseline and got himself wide-open on the deep right corner.
Without hesitation, Villamor hoisted a three-pointer that went in, giving the Bulldogs a lead they never gave up on the way to a 70-65 win over the five-time defending champions.
It has been that kind of a season for the Bulldogs, who wrapped up victory No. 10 and clinched the No. 1 spot in the Final Four for the first time since the current postseason format was first introduced in 1994.
“Trusting my teammates, it has been a big thing this season," said the son of PBA legend Bobby Parks. "It’s not just about one person, it’s the whole team. You could only win games if you do it together.”
Parks was recently named ACCEL 3XVI Player of the Week by the UAAP Press Corps after finishing with 24 points, seven rebounds, two steals, and an assist against Ateneo.
But individual accolades are not important at this time for Parks, who is focused on winning a championship with the team-first concept NU coach Eric Altamirano has been espousing, even if it meant missing out on a third successive MVP award.
“It's great to win individual awards but the championship is what we are gunning for,” said Parks.
Now the Bulldogs are right where they want to be - the No. 1 seed and with two shots at the school's first finals appearance since 1977.
“It’s a blessing,” Parks said on claiming the twice-to-beat incentive as the top-seeded team in the Final Four. “I want to thank God for the opportunity.
"After losing to La Salle, we were down, but the coaches opened our eyes that it is a blessing that we have a second chance at a twice-to-beat advantage. It’s just a great feeling to be here.”
Altamirano said the hard part is still to come for the Bulldogs.
“We are humbled by this opportunity. But then again, hindi pa tapos ‘yung mission. We have a great shot at making it to the finals. We want to stay humble and hungry and stay focused,” said Altamirano.