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Ray Parks Jr. embraces rookie-veteran standing in PBA Draft

Bobby Ray Parks, Jr. may be coming in as a rookie, but he doesn’t consider himself one – especially given the wealth of experience at his disposal as he enters the 2018 Philippine Basketball Association Annual Rookie Draft this Sunday.

For the 25-year-old Parks, Jr., his long list of local and international stints have prepared him for this year’s rookie draft. He is tipped to be one of the top three picks, along with collegiate standouts CJ Perez and Robert Bolick.

“I don’t really consider myself a rookie. It’s my first year in this league, but I felt like I’ve had enough experience playing professionally,” the two-time ABL Local Most Valuable Player pointed out.

“Because people get the misconception that if you don’t play in the PBA, you’re not a pro. But you can play in so many different leagues and be a professional.”

Parks, Jr. isn’t lying; he’s likely the most experienced rookie entering the PBA in recent years.

The NU product was actually PBA-ready the moment he finished his career in the UAAP back in 2013. But he opted to ripen his game even more with different successful stints in multi-level leagues, both here in the Philippines and abroad.

Parks Jr., a two-time UAAP MVP, tried to achieve his NBA dream in 2015 but only managed to reach the NBA D-League with a stint for the Texas Legends.

This did not stop the son of seven-time PBA Best Import Bobby Parks, however, as he continued his quest for basketball glory across all leagues in the continent.

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He was adjudged the PBA D-League MVP in 2015 after towing Hapee to the Aspirants’ Cup title.

Just this year, he claimed his second straight Local MVP plum in the prestigious ASEAN Basketball League aside from helping Alab Pilipinas win its first championship.

With this, Parks Jr. said he is tailor-fit for the PBA whichever team picks him up. And it’s about time he tests his mettle in Asia’s oldest professional league.

“I’m excited to see where I’m going. I’m excited to see which team wants me and excited to play at this level. Throughout the years, I’ve been preparing playing in professional leagues, so I think I’ll fit in naman,” he said.

“I’ve seen a lot of things, played in a lot of leagues and I mean for me it’s time. Coach Jimmy [Alapag] and the guys in the ABL, the NBA D-League, NBA Summer League, has prepared me well enough for this situation. And the whole purpose of joining the PBA, to answer everybody’s question, is that you join the PBA when you’re ready.”

Parks, Jr. has been on Blackwater’s radar as second overall pick in the Draft, set on Sunday at the Robinson’s Place in Ermita, Manila.

But when his name is finally called in the PBA draft, Parks, Jr. might not be there personally, as the draft will coincide with Alab’s game against CLS Knights in Indonesia.

“Sila boss Charlie [Dy – team manager], coach Jimmy matatanong niyo diyan kasi right now, I’m focused on Alab,” he said.

“So we’ll see from there.”

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