The Ilonggo Superman: Billy Ray Robles taking his flight to Davao Occi Tigers

OLD time PBA fans would remember The Black Superman Billy Ray Bates as the flamboyant import who would take the league by storm, leading the fabled Crispa Redmanizers to completing the grand slam in 1983.

Since then, there were waves of people named after the phenomenal reinforcement and one of them was the guy from Iloilo who would be given the moniker “The Ilonggo Superman.”

Meet, Billy Ray Robles, a hardworking guard who once played for the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters in the PBA and is now bringing his wares to the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League.

Robles provided stability in the backcourt of the Tigers and gave the team a go-to-guy during pressure-packed situations. In the preseason finals against Manila, the six-foot guard was able to carry home this new expansion squad from the south and in front of the appreciative crowd, he was able to put on a dazzling display in a huge scoring spree that allowed Davao Occi to rule the four-team preseason event put up by Senator Manny Pacquiao with former PBA MVP and one of the league’s greatest players Kenneth Duremdes serving as commissioner.

Robles wasn’t born yet when Bates burst onto the PBA scene but he heard a lot of great things from his dad.

“Ang sabi nga niya sa akin, doon daw kinuha yung pangalan ko,” Robles told FOX Sports Philippines in an exclusive interview.

Unlike Bates, who would go above the rim and come out with spectacular plays, the new generation Bily Ray worked efficiently in the backcourt and provided the spark for the Tigers.

Robles has a found a new playground where he play and have fun in the MPBL.

“Ok lang sa akin na andito ako sa MPBL, panibagong pamilya, panibagong pakisama. Ok rin yun kasi marami kang makikilalang kaibigan. Sobrang sayang maglaro rito sa MPBL, ang daming tao, nakaka-excite,” added Robles.

Robles sees the MPBL a lot more challenging not only because they’re going to play formidable teams from north to south, but also on how he will keep his body in great condition.

“Matagal-tagal na laruan yun, kailangan magpakundisyon,” he added.