MANILA, Philippines — Bobby Parks, the only seven-time winner of the Philippine Basketball Association’s Best Import award, passed away Saturday after more than a year of battling larynx and lung cancer. He was 51.
The father of reigning UAAP MVP Bobby Ray Parks made his Philippine debut in 1987 as an import of San Miguel Beer, later packing his bags to join the defunct Shell Turbo Chargers.
It was with Shell where Parks Sr.’s star truly shone as he joined hands with eventual homegrown Hall-of Famers Benjie Paras and Ronnie Magsanoc in making the Turbochargers a legitimate force in the PBA.
A graduate of Memphis State University, Parks was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks in 1984 but never got to play a single game in the NBA. He arrived in the Philippines with little fanfare as the league then was immersed with the likes of Billy Ray Bates, Michael Hackett, Norman Black, etc.
He was a smooth operator on the floor and was one of the most dominant imports in the PBA. He was inducted into the PBA Hall of Fame on September 2009 but fell ill the following year.
When his son Bobby Ray was recruited by National University for the UAAP, the elder Parks decided to return here for good, accepting a job as assistant athletic moderator of the school.
The elder Parks also coached the San Miguel Beermen in the Asean Basketball League, the last basketball job he relinquished because of health reasons.
His family, which was at his bedside at the San Juan de Dios Hospital when he passed before 5 p.m. yesterday, will announce interment details later.