Birthday boy Ray Parks thanks injury layoff for newfound streak
MANILA, Philippines – The San Miguel Alab Pilipinas played to their usual dominant standards to start the 2019 ABL season.
However, one man who seemed lost in the shuffle was the reigning two-time local MVP Ray Parks.
In his first 10 games, the highly-touted combo guard limped to averages of 12.6 points on 42/100 (42%) shooting, well below last year's 16.7 points per game. He then sat out the next two weeks and missed 3 straight games due to face and groin injuries.
As it turned out, he just needed time to breathe.
Since healing from his battle wounds, Alab's captain regained his aggression and erupted for averages of 21.6 points on a staggering 38/59 (64%) clip over their last 5 games. He capped it off with an easy 17-marker output on 6/10 (60%) shooting in Alab's 108-81 sweeping rout of the Zhuhai Wolf Warriors last Sunday, February 17.
"It's just adjustment. I've been playing for 3 years straight, so I guess that injury was a blessing in disguise that I was able to rest and recuperate," he said after the game.
"It was just a great job with my teammates helping me out and finding me. And coach is pushing me to be more aggressive, so it's a blessing right now to be in this position."
It was a fitting birthday gift for Parks, who turned 26 on Tuesday, February 19.
@ray1parks' friends surprise him with a birthday cake last Sunday after Alab Pilipinas' 108-81 win versus Zhuhai!— JR Isaga (@JRnalistic) February 19, 2019
ABL's reigning 2-time Local MVP turns 26 today, February 19. @RapplerSports pic.twitter.com/EuOFtYlBhc
Despite the great personal run he's been having, however, he recognizes that the playoff-bound Alab still has some holes that need plugging heading to the post-season.
"We have to play a good 40 minutes of basketball, to be honest," he said.
"We need to do a better job of having the lead and continue stepping on the gas. It's just signs of us being young, so we need to continue to grow in that aspect."
After a short pit stop at home, Alab returns back on the road for a 3-game stretch, starting in Thailand next Saturday, February 23, against the ever-dangerous Mono Vampire Basketball Club. – Rappler.com