MANILA, Philippines, July 3 ------ Bobby Ray Parks is likely to join Gilas in the FIBA Asia Cup in Jakarta on July 12-24 with coach Chot Reyes getting a lift from Barangay Ginebra PBA Governor Alfrancis Chua who invited the Japanese B.League Asian import to suit up for the national team. Parks played for Alab which Chua managed as San Miguel Corp. sports director in three ABL seasons up to 2019.
Reyes reached out to Greg Slaughter to invite him for Gilas but the 7-foot center declined, citing a commitment with an undisclosed team. Slaughter’s PBA rights are held by NorthPort and he’s considered a restricted free agent because of an impasse in the negotiations for a contract renewal.
Parks, 29, played for Blackwater and TNT over three conferences in two seasons then moved to Japan last year. He averaged 10.4 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 22.8 minutes in 46 games for the Nagoya Diamond Dolphins in Division I this past season. Nagoya qualified for the playoffs but was swept by Kawasaki in the best-of-three quarterfinals. Under PBA rules, a restricted free agent has two years within which to come to terms with his team and if there is no agreement, he will sit out a total of five years before qualifying as an unrestricted free agent.
Parks confirmed he received a call from Chua about Gilas and said he’ll continue to play in Japan. “Nagoya’s a great organization and I’m happy to play for the team,” said Parks who shot 54 percent from the field, 37.7 percent from beyond the arc and 78.1 percent from the line in his rookie campaign with the Diamond Dolphins. Parks played for Gilas in three SEA Games and the 2016 Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
The core of the squad for Jakarta will be composed of standouts from the Gilas lineup in the recent Korea friendlies and the third FIBA Asia World Cup qualifying window that culminates in a game against India at the MOA Arena on Sunday. TNT is not scheduled to play in the PBA from July 11 until the end of the eliminations on July 22 so it raises the possibility of Reyes opting to enlist selected Tropang Giga players for Jakarta but the lack of practice time with Gilas may make it difficult.