They may have spent some time together in the Philippine Men’s National Basketball Team – winning SEA Games gold medals along the way – but many still know Kevin Ferrer and Bobby Ray Parks, Jr. as fierce rivals during their college days in the UAAP.
Back in the Final Four stage of Season 76, when the UST Growling Tigers battled NU Bulldogs, it was well-documented how Parks, Jr. did not like the versatile forward’s defense, saying that the latter’s physical play is overboard.
The two-time UAAP Most Valuable Player went as far as calling Ferrer and the España-based cagers the Detroit Pistons, while he and NU were like the Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls due to the ruggedness of their defense.
And very much like that NBA rivalry, the “Bad Boys” took down the favorites. Ferrer and the Growling Tigers overcame the top-seeded Bulldogs’ twice-to-beat advantage for a return trip to the Finals. They eventually finished as runners-up.
It only seems like yesterday since Ferrer and Parks, Jr. last battled, when in fact it has already been six years.
Both Ferrer and Parks, Jr. have grown since that playoff series. Both of them are now in the professional ranks, and it was only a matter of time before they would meet again on the opposing ends of the hardwood.
They faced off again on Friday night. Ferrer and the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel took on the young Blackwater Elite of Parks, Jr., as the crowd darlings started their title defense bid in the 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
Ferrer said that he’s simply glad to meet his former rival again.
“Masaya ulit na mabantayan siya,” he said.
“Na-miss ko siya bantayan.”
But this time was different from their college days. Unlike before, when they locked horns almost all game long, Ferrer and Parks, Jr. only faced off for a few minutes as Justin Brownlee guarded the latter most of the time.
And this time, it was Parks, Jr. who got the last laugh over Ferrer, a three-time UAAP silver medalist.
Parks, Jr. came up big and took over in overtime, scoring 10 of his 28 points in the said period to power the Elite to a stunning 108-107 victory over the Gin Kings. The rookie helped Blackwater hike their card to 2-0 in the process.
The loss stings for Ginebra, given the rough start to their campaign. Ferrer isn’t too alarmed, though, since this is only the Barangay’s first game of the conference. Still, he hopes to see Parks, Jr. again soon to avenge this loss.
“‘Di pa naman ano eh… First game pa lang naman eh. Pero sana maulit ulit. Magkaharap ulit. At sana manalo.”
Parks, Jr.’s exploits were on full display in that overtime period, showing that he is a cut above his contemporaries. Given that, did Ferrer, even for a bit, wish that he was on the floor during the extra time to try and stop him, just like before?
“No comment ako diyan,” Ferrer said with a chuckle. “Basta kung ano yung decision rin ni coach, wala tayong magagawa.
“Decision niya yun.”