Ray Parks says heartbreaker part of ‘growing pains’ for Gilas
BOCAUE, Bulacan — Ray Parks believes Gilas Pilipinas’ heartbreaking loss to Jordan is part of the young team’s growing pains ahead of the Fiba World Cup 2023.
Parks had a chance to complete the Philippines’ comeback from 25 points down, but he missed his potential game-winning basket as Jordan escaped with a 91-90 win.
“We had [six] more seconds on the clock and it was like, it was another good shot attempt so, it just happened that Dwight (Ramos) passed me the ball and gosh, I wish I would’ve made that shot but God’s plan, wrong place,” Parks said after the game on Monday at Philippine Arena. “We should have never put ourselves in that position anyway.”
“This is just growing pains and I’m excited for what the future holds for this team,” he added.
The Filipino-American guard, who had eight points, four rebounds and five assists, also stressed it’s not in the team’s nature to point fingers at anyone after such a tough loss.
That’s why he and his teammates went on to console a frustrated Scottie Thompson, who muffed a pair of free throws that would’ve given Gilas the lead with 30 seconds remaining.
“To us, it was just trying to get the stop and really pushing. Because we wanted to stay solid,” Parks said. “This team is so pure and we just want to represent our country the best that we could and help each other.”
“We keep our heads up and don’t let that pull us down, especially Scottie, right? Scottie’s such a great player, everybody, it could happen to anybody. We just wanted to let him know that we still trust him and at the end of the day, he’s a huge part of what we’re trying to do.”
Parks added that showing that they are capable of fighting back from a 25-point deficit was a “testament of character” despite failing to end the qualifiers on a high note.
“We’re still young, we’re still putting it together. It’s not always gonna work out and obviously, it goes to show may puso tayo (we have heart). From down , it’s ridiculous,” he said.
After his Gilas stint, Parks will return to Japan along with the other B.League Filipino imports before Gilas braces for the 32nd Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia in May and the World Cup in August.