Ray Parks enters PBA like a vet: 'I don't really consider myself a rookie'
MANILA, Philippines – Ray Parks may technically be considered a rookie heading into the PBA but he doesn't really consider himself as one.
The combo guard, who is expected to land within the top 3 in the 2018 PBA Rookie Draft, said he is equipped with the experiences he gained from multiple leagues as he makes the big leap to Asia's first play-for-pay league.
"I don't really consider myself a rookie," Parks told reporters as he showed up in the Draft Combine at the Hoops Center in Mandaluyong on Wednesday, December 12.
"It's my first year in this league but I felt like I've had enough experience playing professionally. Because people get the misconception that if you don't play in the PBA, you're not a pro."
Instead of joining the PBA draft when he ended his stellar UAAP career with the NU Bulldogs in 2013, Parks chased his NBA dreams and joined the Texas Legends in the NBA G League in 2015.
He once again delayed his PBA plans in 2016 and saw action in the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL), where he won two Local Most Valuable Player awards and led Alab Pilipinas to a championship this year.
Parks is still with Alab and expressed his commitment to the team's title-retention bid, but he finally ended the long wait by joining 47 other rookie hopefuls in this year's draft class.
"You can play in so many different leagues and be a professional. I've felt like I played in different leagues international and local and across Asia to consider myself a professional," added the former two-time UAAP MVP.
"I'll still be new to things but at the end of the day, we all are. Everybody here, it doesn't matter what league you played in, it's still basketball, it's a new chapter of my life."
But why only now?
To the 25-year-old, it's simple as knowing when he is ripe for the next chapter of his life.
"Coach Jimmy (Alapag) and the guys in the ABL, the NBA D-League [and] NBA Summer League have prepared me well enough for this situation and the whole purpose of joining the PBA," Parks said.
"To answer everybody's question is that you join the PBA when you're ready." – Rappler.com