PBA chair Vargas dares Parks to offer services to other teams: ‘See for himself if he can land a job’
Should the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) open its 46th Season on April 18 as rescheduled, Ray Parks Jr. has more or less a month to get his affairs in order with mother team TNT or risk being kept in the freezer for a long time— the next five seasons, to be exact.
And he has to check, too, if the friction he created with team representative Ricky Vargas is repairable in the first place.
“I challenge him (Parks) to offer his services to the other (PBA) teams and see for himself if he can land a job,” Vargas told the Inquirer over the phone on Wednesday night. “I’m sure no team will be interested in him considering the way he conducts himself.”
TNT is intent on keeping the prolific swingman in their camp for as long as it takes, irked because Parks led them to believe that they were negotiating for a contract extension in good faith before leaving the squad out to dry by declaring a “sabbatical” for the coming season.
Parks Jr., who has kept mum since announcing his plans on social media, could not be reached for comment.
It’s no secret that the Tropang Giga are trying to build their team around the son of the seven-time PBA Best Import, the late legendary Bobby Parks. The team’s plans were left in disarray because of Parks Jr.’s sabbatical declaration.
“The board [of governors made up of representatives of team owners] is a collegial body that supports each other,” Vargas said. “He will also not be traded because he doesn’t have TNT’s consent for a trade.”
Vargas said TNT gave Parks Jr. its formal offer of a “super maximum” two-year extension, which the team also forwarded to the Commissioner’s Office. The maximum that a PBA team can offer a player is P420,000, but Parks Jr. could earn much more than that with bonuses, incentives and other perks tacked to the contract—something that TNT was willing to give him.
Parks Jr. is part of the batch of players who would have been eligible to be an unrestricted free agent, but that requires a player to see action in the league for seven seasons with the PBA. Parks is entering his third season, effectively tying his rights to TNT for five more seasons. By the time Parks could become an unrestricted free agent and negotiate with any team he wants, he would be 33.
Parks Jr. cannot take his act abroad, too, because the PBA works closely with the Fiba (International Basketball Federation), the world governing cage body which grants clearances to players going international. The local basketball federation, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP), is a body that is closely associated with the TNT group and is headed by Al Panlilio, who is the Meralco board representative in the PBA.
Manny V. Pangilinan, the chair emeritus of the SBP, owns TNT, Meralco and NLEX in the PBA and was also really put off by Parks Jr.’s “lies” during the negotiations and posted a photo of the guard enjoying himself in a beach in La Union when he led TNT officials to believe that he was in the United States.Board clamp-down
The board is planning to clamp down hard on players taking leaves without the agreement from their mother teams, as Vargas brought up the Parks Jr. case to the board in its last planning session with the act being the second high-profile case in as many years.
The season before, Greg Slaughter, the 7-foot center, also went on a hiatus and flew back to the United States for fear of Barangay Ginebra trading him to NorthPort for Christian Standhardinger.
Slaughter sat out last year, didn’t see action in the bubble where the Gin Kings won the Philippine Cup over the Tropang Giga, before making amends with Ginebra management a few weeks later and signing a new deal.
He was subsequently traded to the Batang Pier and has found a new home at NorthPort.
At least his story ended on a happy note, somewhat. Parks Jr.’s case does not look coming close to that, though.