'They don’t want me in this league,' says Ray Parks after MPBL debut

MANILA, Philippines – Bobby Ray Parks is a 6-foot-4 combo guard, a two-time reigning Asean Basketball League (ABL) local MVP, a current ABL Champion with Alab Pilipinas and the son of a multi-time PBA Best Import.

Who doesn’t want a player like that?

Well apparently, Parks doeesn't feel quite welcome in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL).

The former UAAP MVP from National University (NU) didn’t mince words after his Mandaluyong El Tigre squad lost to last conference's runner-up Muntinlupa Cagers, 74-86, in the Datu Cup opening at the Araneta Coliseum, on Tuesday night, June 12.

“They don’t want me in this league, I’ll be honest,” he said to reporters after the game. “First time I’ve seen in my life, 4 offensive fouls. I mean, I attended the orientation. I know what a foul is.”

Indeed, all game long, Parks was hampered with charging calls, two of them coming in the first quarter alone. As a result, he was limited to 28 minutes, but still dropped a team-high double-double of 21 points and 10 rebounds. However, he had 6 turnovers – 4 coming off the offensive fouls that put Parks on the brink of fouling out.

With the stunted playing time of their primary star, El Tigre’s momentum dropped off late in the first half as they gave up an 11-0 quarter-ending run to the Cagers, 36-46. They got as close as 6 points, 61-67, at the beginning of the 4th period, but Parks was again called for a charge, so he had to be benched again as his team decisively fell off for good.

Before the league's second conference kicked off, Parks also questioned the league's new rule on Filipino-foreigners. (READ: Local or Fil-Am? MPBL to check Ray Parks' documents)

Filipino boxing icon and league founder Manny Pacquiao, though, reiterated his stand on imports and foreigners with Filipino roots.

Wala muna [import],” said Pacquiao, who graced the opening day. “Nasasapawan kasi yung mga Pilipino. Dati ang lakas ng PBA [in terms of popularity] nung puro pa mga Pilipino. Humina lang nung marami nang mga Fil-Am [at] import. Bigyan natin ng chance yung mga Pilipino.”

(No imports for now because they tend to overshadow the Filipino players. Back then, the PBA was really strong in terms of popularity when it was all-Filipino. It just weakened when Fil-Ams and imports started coming in. Let’s give chance to the [full-blooded] Filipinos.)

The remark prompted Parks to comment on Twitter.

Ah thats why https://t.co/JvLePGXUhe — Bobby Ray Parks Jr. (@ray1parks) June 13, 2018

He also retweeted a fan’s opinion on the league’s standing Fil-foreigner limit.

Bukod sa never ending argument na Filipino rin naman kayong Fil-Foreigns, parang minaliit na rin niya ang local talents. Eh sa katunayan, kaya rin naman ng nilang makipagsabayan. Kaya wala na dapat discrimination. Basta suportado ka namin, idol. Do your thing. — Neil  (@NiniMe19) June 13, 2018

Regardless of the issue, Parks just relished on the opportunity to play in the face of adversity.

“Take it as a challenge, it’s another day,” he said. “They don’t want me here, but I’m here.”

“They don’t want me here, I knew that coming in,” he reiterated. “It’s my home though. I enjoy playing in front of the crowd. At the end of the day, they don’t want me here.”

League commissioner Kenneth Duremdes has yet to comment on Parks’ statements, but had insisted that the Fil-foreigner limit stays.

Aside from the Muntinlupa-Mandaluyong match, the opening day also saw the Marikina Shoemasters edging out the General Santos Goldenstate Warriors, 88-81.

Yves Sazon dropped a huge double-double of 33 points and 10 boards on a 6/13 (46%) shooting from downtown. Marikina's main attraction Gerald Anderson, though, sat out due to a nagging hamstring injury. – Rappler.com