Before they faced off on the court, Dwight Ramos made sure to exchange pleasantries with his senior Bobby Ray Parks Jr.
After all, Ramos and Toyama were hosting Parks and Niigata.
And Parks reciprocated the love showed to him by his compatriot.
“It’s brotherly competition. Got love for him,” expressed Parks, who is six years the elder of Ramos.
“He is the up-and-coming, a great player.”
But in both games over the weekend at Toyama City Gymnasium, it was Parks who stole the show.
The three-time ASEAN Basketball League Most Valuable Player, who had been hampered by a quad strain, finally got going. He led the Diamond Dolphins to a weekend sweep that saw them win with an average margin of 25.5 points.
For Parks, though, it just feels good to finally find their groove.
“I feel great. It’s definitely a stepping stone. We are building as a team, building trust, and building chemistry,” said Parks as they are now riding a three-game winning streak. “I appreciate Coach Shawn [Dennis] for letting us play and my teammates for trusting and believing in me.
“We got the job done today and hopefully we continue to grow.”
In those two games, Parks averaged 16.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 2.5 steals as his minutes’ restriction is up to 20 minutes.
Parks, though, deflected the credit to his teammates for making his transition to the B.League seamless.
“There’s a lot of great competition over here. My teammates are great guys on and off the floor,” he expressed. “They just make it easier to go to practices each day, get better, and work hard.
“We just want to continue building and hopefully, make the city of Nagoya proud.”
Despite his early struggles due to injury and now finding his footing, Parks knows that Ramos – who averaged just 7.5 points on 26.9-percent shooting in his first two games – will also adjust to the Grouses as he gets more practices under his belt.
Of course, Parks was grateful for the Filipinos that went to the venue to cheer for him and Ramos. And he hopes that the Filipinos both in Japan and also watching from their home country continue to cheer for them.
“I’m just glad that Filipinos have the opportunity have a chance to play basketball in such a great country,” he said. “We just want to represent our country the best way we could and you guys the best way we could.
“Sa aking mga kababayan, maraming salamat sa inyong suporta. Nanalo tayo today. Patuloy niyo po kaming suportahan, hindi lang ako at ‘yung Nagoya Diamond Dolphins kung hindi sa lahat ng Pilipinong naglalaro rito sa B.League. God bless at take care po!”