SMART CLARK GIGA CITY — Bobby Ray Parks, Jr. gave Barangay Ginebra San Miguel all sorts of problems back in the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup Finals series opener last Sunday, making things happen for TNT on both ends of the floor.
Coming off an impressive showing in the semis, the second-generation cager continued his fine play in his first-ever Finals game. He put up 20 points, five steals, four rebounds, four steals, and two blocks in nearly 44 minutes.
All his efforts, unfortunately, went down the drain. The versatile 6-foot-4 guard fouled out with only 31.1 seconds left in the game, and the Tropang Giga eventually absorbed a stinging 94-100 overtime loss.
Worse, he may not have the opportunity to bounce back in Game Two.
Last Monday, head coach Bong Ravena said that Parks is ‘highly doubtful’ to play on Wednesday. He suffered a left calf strain in the game, aggravating the injury that caused him to sit out TNT’s debut in the season opener last Oct. 11.
“Ray has a left calf strain and [is] highly doubtful on Wednesday,” the seasoned bench tactician wrote in a short text message to Tiebreaker Times. “We are hoping that he could play on Friday (Game Three).”
If he does not play, that is one less problem for the Gin Kings.
Head coach Tim Cone, however, isn’t one to look at it that way. The decorated mentor remains concerned with the Tropang Giga’s other weapons, especially the veteran tandem of Jayson Castro and Jay Washington.
The two found their touch from outside and engaged in a shootout with the Gin Kings late in regulation. A triple by Washington tied the game at 88-all, before Castro’s own gave TNT a 91-90 lead with 36.6 seconds left.
The 39-year-old Washington finished with 14 points built on four triples, while Castro supplied 12 markers and five dimes. They were among the five players who scored in twin digits for the Tropang Giga.
“That’s [one of] the problems they pose as a team. It’s kind of like pick your poison. They’re a good team, they’re in the Finals, and they’re in the Finals because of the problems they pose,” Cone said.
Good thing for the Barangay, Arvin Tolentino was there. He tied the game to eventually send it into OT, where veteran floor general LA Tenorio, Japeth Aguilar, Stanley Pringle, and Aljon Mariano all came through.
And they are expected to deliver the goods once more as Ginebra shoots for a 2-0 lead at the 6:00 p.m. clash. Cone insisted that it would take a collective effort if they really want to beat the Tropa anew.
“We had a lot of contributions, and that is how it is going to have to be when we play this team — no one person is going to beat Talk N Text. It is going to be a team,” the league’s only 22-time champion coach said.