MANILA, Philippines – As Japan B. League action tips off on Thursday, September 29, Filipino imports Ray Parks, Matthew Wright, and Kobe Paras all brace for a fast-paced, high-level brand of basketball in the 2022-2023 season.
Parks will be the first among the 12 Filipino imports to make his season debut on Thursday, September 29, and the Gilas Pilipinas guard has nothing but admiration for the style of play in the Land of the Rising Sun as he enters his second year with the Nagoya Diamond Dolphins in Division 1.
“Definitely great competition,” said Parks of the B. League during a virtual press conference with Filipino reporters on Tuesday, September 27.
“Not only with just the imports, but the locals also, with their style of play. Very fast-paced. As you can see, we played at a high level.”
“I’m just glad to be part of such a prestigious and great league and at the same time, proud to represent my country,” he added.
Like Parks, Wright, who is all set for his B. League debut for the Kyoto Hannaryz in Division 1 after a six-year stint in the PBA with the Phoenix Fuel Masters, also praised the high-tempo action in Japan, as well as the ability of the Japanese players, especially the guards, to be exceptional on both ends of the floor.
“The speed and the intensity are very high over here. Every team, most of the guards, they pick up full court. It’s almost like they move a hundred miles an hour, almost. So the intensity is definitely higher,” Wright explained.
“Like I said, it’s a high-intensity league. Nothing really too different from what I’m used to. But the skill level in Japan is also very high, in terms of the guards and being able to shoot the ball, and create and play defense,” he continued.
Meanwhile, Paras, who will now suit up for second division team Altiri Chiba, admitted he had difficulties in adjusting to the rapid pace of the game during his subpar first season with the Niigata Albirex BB in Division 1, and is not expecting the quality of play to change despite playing in a different setting.
“I think [Division 1] is just different because Japanese basketball in general is such a fast-paced (one),” said Paras.
“That was one of the difficulties that I’ve had, which is the pacing and trying to learn how to understand such a fast pace, and I think it wouldn’t be any different for [Division 2] and it will be the same thing coming this season.”
Parks and the Diamond Dolphins will go up against the Seahorses Mikawa in the season opener on Thursday at 6:05 pm, Manila time, while Wright and Paras will both don their new uniforms on Saturday, October 1 at 3:05 pm and 5 pm, Manila time, respectively.