It certainly was a long time coming, but Bobby Ray Parks Jr. finally made his long awaited PBA debut on Sunday in Blackwater Elite’s thrilling 94-91 overtime win against the Meralco Bolts.
Nard Pinto and import Alex Stepson were both facing their former teams, but all eyes were on the three-time ABL MVP, who certainly did not disappoint.
New Blackwater coach Aries Dimaunahan displayed faith for his super rookie, giving him 41 minutes of playing time in just his first PBA game. He responded by pitching in 20 points, eight rebounds, and two assists.
Parks showed his ability to score from everywhere in the court, finishing with slick drives and pull-up jumpers. His accuracy, however, leaves a lot of room for improvement, as he shot 31 percent on 6-of-19 field goals. He also missed five of his six total attempts from downtown (16 percent).
Parks went to the line nine times last night and only missed two charities (77 percent). His split free throws with 9.1 seconds left in overtime gave Meralco a chance to win the game, but Blackwater managed to hang on in the end.
The 26-year-old had the ball on his hands in a lot of possessions last night, which attributed to his eight turnovers. Parks, however, made up for it by showing his capabilities as an elite wing defender, adding three steals and one blocked shot.
His beautiful chase down of Baser Amer early in the third quarter was one of the game’s best highlights.
— PBA (@pbaconnect) May 19, 2019
It’s still quite too early to tell, but Parks truly has the tools to become one of the league’s biggest stars. The Elite — who are off to a good start in the Commissioner’s Cup — are certainly a much better team with him on the floor.