Alab Pilipinas guard Ray Parks Jr. ordered 40 tickets to give away to family and friends for what he considered as his homecoming game Sunday night.
He has traveled all over the United States during his stint in the NBA D-League, showcased his skills at Smart Araneta Coliseum while seeing action for National U in the UAAP and wore the country’s colors at Mall of Asia Arena in the Fiba Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
But Parks always prides himself as the kid who grew up playing ball in the concrete courts in Parañaque.
“I came from beginnings of a kid playing in the local leagues here known by everybody as just Parks’ kid,” said the son of the late PBA import Bobby Parks Sr.
Before a capacity crowd at Olivarez Gymnasium, Parks treated his hometown to a memorable performance that also set a new record in the Asean Basketball League.
Parks’ 41 points in Alab Pilipinas’ 93-87 victory over the Kaohsiung Truth wasn’t just the highest scoring output in the young ABL season, it also established a new mark for a local player, eclipsing the 35 of Thai Kammut Samerjai of the Mono Vampires last season. The output was still four short of the ABL scoring record held by Justin Howard of the Singapore Slingers.
“It feels great,” said Parks who missed just four of his 20 attempts aside from grabbing 14 rebounds.
“Just to represent the country with Alab is a blessing, a huge honor. It’s definitely one of those games I’ll remember, for sure.”
The outcome was hardly in doubt as soon as Parks took over against the same team he torched for 30 points in a 91-82 win last week in Bulacan. The two-time UAAP MVP had 11 points in the first period where Alab raced to a 21-6 advantage to seize command.
“When you think about it, before the first game, I haven’t played over 15 minutes in a year and a half [in the US],” said Parks. “I was still finding my rhythm.”
“It’s just getting better and better,” he added. “I’m more in control now.”
Alab’s Korean import Lee Seung-jun tallied 24 points as the Filipinos improved to 2-1 for third spot behind Hong Kong Eastern Long Lions (4-0) and Singapore Slingers (3-1).
The feat hardly surprised Alab coach Mac Cuan.
“Bobby Ray is Bobby Ray,” said Cuan. “That’s already a given.”
Kaohsiung paraded new heritage imports in former Far Eastern U standouts Achie Iñigo and Raymar Jose, after fielding only one reinforcement in Mikee Reyes last week. But the duo could do little to stop the Truth from falling to a fourth straight defeat.
Jose finished with 12 points and seven boards, including five offensive rebounds, before fouling out midway in the fourth period.
Iñigo had four points on 2-of-8 shooting aside from issuing eight assists.
But the ex-Tamaraws did well enough to impress the Truth’s management team, which signed them for the remainder of the season.
Jose, a member of the UAAP Mythical Team this year, thinks he has a lot to work on to help the Truth arrest their skid.
“I know they’re looking for a hustle player both on offense and defense so I need to work on that,” said Jose. “But all the hard work I showed during college, that’s also what I’m going to give them.”
Parks, though, wasn’t the only hit in the match as Alab drew a large crowd for the third straight game.
Alab, which also filled Alonte Sports Arena in Biñan City and Baliwag Star Arena in Bulacan, will play its next home games in Davao and Sta. Rosa, Laguna.