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Parks joins cast as Gilas leaves today

Bobby Ray Parks

MANILA, Philippines - Gilas Pilipinas took an extra wing guy that made it a 17-man team with the addition of Bobby Ray Parks before the squad leaves today for Taipei for the 2017 Jones Cup that unwraps tomorrow at the Taipei Peace International Basketball Hall.

Team manager Butch Antonio leads the Gilas delegation that takes the Eva Air 12 noon flight to Taipei where they meet coach Chot Reyes who is flying from Los Angeles after attending the 2017 ESPY Award.

Assistant coaches Jong Uichico, Josh Reyes and Jimmy Alapag ran the practices in the last two days, gearing Gilas up for their opening-day match with Team Canada 150 at 3 p.m. tomorrow.

Parks, a former UAAP MVP with a stint with the Texas Legends in the NBA D-League, is a welcome addition to Team Phl in the tourney where it goes through a tough grind of playing nine games in nine days.

“Twelve players play and five sit down per game,” said Antonio on the routine they’re taking as part of the Gilas buildup for the 2017 SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur on Aug. 19-30.

Taipei’s Team A also entered a 17-man squad while Taipei B, Japan, Korea and Iraq are composed of 14 players each.

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Canada and Lithuania could well be the teams to beat with their edge in height.

“Right off, mabubulaga tayo (we will be uneasy) facing a tall Canada team with its seven-footers,” said Josh Reyes.

Import Mike Myers is Gilas’ tallest player at a shade below 6-foot-10. Canada, meanwhile, has three players, standing at least 6-foot-11 in Conor Morgan, Michale Kyser and Dallin Bachynski.

As in every tourney they’re playing, Antonio said the goal is to win the championship.

“If we fall short, we’ll make sure that we have tried the system we’re running in this team,” said Antonio.

“It’s gonna be exciting,” Antonio also said, optimistic the Jones Cup will be a good experience for the young cadet players, majority of them are also to don the national jersey in the coming SEA Games.

The comebacking Mac Belo of Blackwater and eight other PBA rookies make the Gilas Jones Cup roster along with Fil-German Christian Standhardinger, Kobe Paras, Kiefer Ravena, Reymar Jose, Almond Vosotros, Parks and Myers.

Von Pessumal, a fresh transferee from GlobalPort to San Miguel Beer, is also with the team with Alaska Milk’s Carl Bryan Cruz, Ginebra’s Kevin Ferrer, Phoenix Petroleum’s Matthew Wright, TNT KaTropa’s RR Pogoy, Rain or Shine’s Mike Tolomia, Star’s Jio Jalalon, Meralco’s Ed Daquiaog and NLEX’s Alfonso Gotladera.

Seeing action in the SEA Games after the Jones Cup are Vosotros, Ferrer, Ravena, Parks, Tolomia, Pessumal, Cruz, Jose, Paras and Standhardinger. Joining them in the KL meet are PBA mainstays Troy Rosario and Baser Amer.

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