MANILA, Philippines – Being crowned preseason kings doesn’t guarantee anything. If any, championships won in June translates to burgeoning expectations to deliver in the UAAP season.
Of course, National University wanted that second straight Filoil title but Ray Parks knows it’s not what they’re playing for.
“A championship is a championship but of course, it’s just the Filoil,” said the reigning two-time MVP Parks, who seemed hardly disappointed following his team’s loss to University of the East in the Filoil Flying V Premier Cup Finals. “We’re hoping and looking for bigger and better things like the UAAP championship, that’s our goal since day one.”
Last year, NU basked in the glory of its dominating preseason stint as it plodded through competition en route to an unbeaten championship run. Recently, the Bulldogs came close to repeating their feat before getting stopped on their tracks by the Red Warriors.
“It’s better [to lose] now than later in the [UAAP] season. That’s way better,” said Parks of the Bulldogs’ 20-game winning streak getting snapped. “Because now we can learn, we can make adjustments. We’re really on a high and we must have to ground ourselves and remain focused for our task.”
It’s championship or bust for NU but the tag of preseason favorites and the burden that comes with it now rests on UE’s shoulders and its star guard Roi Sumang.
“Of course [they’re a team to beat in the UAAP]. They [UE] just won the championship. But the UAAP is different, it’s crazy. Even last year, we won the Filoil but come UAAP we’re just third.”
Parks came out of the losing locker room like NU didn’t let a title slip away. His head was up and his eyes look bright. “We’re ready. Everybody in the locker room responded not with their heads down, we kept a smile. We know there’s something bigger up task.”