Looks like it won’t be long till we see Bobby Ray Parks Jr. finally make his long awaited PBA debut.
Picked second overall by the Blackwater Elite in the 2018 PBA Draft, the 26-year-old opted to sit out the entire Philippine Cup to suit up for the San Miguel Alab Pilipinas, who were gunning for back-to-back titles in the ASEAN Basketball League.
But things did not go according to plan for the two-time ABL local MVP, as his third and final season with the team ended in disappointment with Alab bowing out early in the best-of-three quarterfinals against the Hong Kong Eastern Lions.
Parks, the son of late PBA Hall of Famer Bobby Parks Sr., will report to the Blackwater Elite’s practice in the coming weeks, as per a report from ESPN’s Richard Dy. Parks’ agent and Alab Pilipinas team owner Charlie Dy also confirmed that his client will be ready sometime after the Holy Week, according to a separate report from Reuben Terrado of SPIN.
After trading away key players Poy Erram, Paul Zamar, and Nard Pinto prior to the start of the conference, Blackwater finished with the worst record in the Philippine Cup eliminations, losing nine of its 11 total games.
A player of Parks’ caliber automatically gives the team a star and possible franchise player for years to come. But given the Elite’s history of trading away key pieces for meager returns, will the team even keep him moving forward?
Imminent trade coming?
Talks of Parks’ possible move began almost as soon as Blackwater scooped him up second overall in the draft. With strong interest particularly coming from the MVP Group, many believe his days with Blackwater are numbered even before it has officially began.
A report from SPIN back in December bared that Blackwater agreed to send the budding star to the Meralco Bolts in a three-team deal involving TNT Katropa. Baser Amer would have landed with TNT, while the Elite were supposed to receive Jericho Cruz and Brian Heruela in the deal.
The blockbuster trade, obviously, did not materialize, given Parks’ commitments with Alab Pilipinas at the time. But with Meralco once again faltering in the All-Filipino tournament, it appears that coach Norman Black will be open to shaking up his roster in order to land an established talent as Parks.
Blackwater, meanwhile, seems to have seen the immense value of their supreme prospect, offering him a supposed three-year, maximum rookie contract worth P10.4 million. The Elite has always fared better in import-laden conferences, plus the addition of Parks could once again bring them back to relevance.
(Image from ABL)