One of two promising Gilas Pilipinas cagers who will make their debut in the seniors level, Fil-Am sensation Bobby Ray Parks is unfazed.
Parks will mark his debut on the international stage with the seniors team when they go up against world superpower France, the Nationals’ initial foe in the 2016 Manila Olympic Qualifying Tournament on Tuesday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.
A three-time gold medalist with Gilas cadets in the SEA Games and SEABA Cup, the 6-foot-4 Parks, 23, is raring to provide the needed quickness and versatility for the Nationals, who will also have vastly-improving Tropang TNT forward Jeth Troy Rosario, his former National U teammate.
Fresh from a fine showing with the Texas Legends in the NBA Development League, Parks came back home with only one thing in mind. And that is to help Gilas Pilipinas in its bid to make it back to the Olympics stage for the first time in more than four decades since the 1972 Olympiad in Munich, Germany.
Realizing that ambitious dream is easier said than done since the Nationals will have to deal with several NBA standouts, including star playmaker Tony Parker, during the six-day cage spectacle that dangles a lone ticket to this year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
But Parks is already relishing the chance to take on the tough challenge.
“It’s just like any other game and I’m ready for it. I’ll just do what my role on the team is—defend and do the intangible things,” he told FOX Sports on Monday at the end of their practice at the Cuneta Astrodome.
Having played against some NBA cagers back in the United States, Parks said he’ll be hardly get star-strucked with the top Frenchmen, including Parks, his fellow San Antonio Spurs Boris Diaw and Denver Nuggets center Joffrey Lauvergne, among others.
“I have played against NBA Players so I’m not really worried,” stressed the proud son of the late but great Bobby Parks, a former seven-time Best Import awardee in the pro ranks. “I’m really more focused on the game plan and the schemes of our team.”
Although they are inferior in most departments against the Les Bleus, Parks is counting on the home crowd to inspire the Nationals.
“They’re gonna be crucial. Just being in that environment, being in our home, we just have to defend the territory,” he concluded. – By Jerome Lagunzad
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