Dean's Corner ( Leaderboard Top ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1

Ray Parks not joining PBA draft

MANILA, Philippines — Former two-time UAAP MVP Bobby Ray Parks won’t join the PBA draft on Oct. 29 and will instead focus on playing a second straight season with Alab Pilipinas in the ABL which is expanding from six to nine teams in its coming seventh campaign.

Parks’ agent Charlie Dy, who co-owns Alab with Dondon Monteverde through their company Virtual Playground, said the 6-4 swingman decided to defer applying for the draft until possibly next year. “He wants to concentrate on Alab then when the ABL season ends in March, plans to go to the US, train and play in the NBA Summer League,” said Dy. The deadline for locals to apply for the draft falls on Oct. 12 so if Parks has a change of heart, he can still join.

The only players confirmed to suit up for Alab this season are Parks, Asean Heritage import Lawrence Domingo and world import Ivan Johnson. Domingo, 28, is a 6-5 forward from Eastern New Mexico University. The Fil-Am, who traces his roots to Laguna, averaged 9.9 points and 6.9 rebounds in 22 games for Alab as a rookie with Alab last season. Johnson, 33, is a 6-8 former Atlanta Hawk who powered TNT to the 2015 PBA Commissioner’s Cup title. He’ll be reunited with former TNT assistant coach Jimmy Alapag, now Alab head coach.

Dy said the Alab roster is still being assembled. Two PBA veterans are under consideration while a second world import is close to signing up. Last season, Alab’s lineup included PBA veterans Robby Celiz, J. R. Cawaling, Val Acuna, Jeric Fortuna, Paolo Hubalde, Jens Knuttel and Hans Thiele.  Kiefer Ravena suited up for two games. Park was the leader of the pack, averaging 18.3 points, 7.2 rebounds and 4.1 assists in earning league MVP honors.

Alapag, who will leave Meralco as assistant coach at the end of the PBA Governors Cup, said the target date for Alab’s first practice is Oct. 1 or 2. “Alab management will be revealing more of our roster this week, including the second import alongside Ivan,” said Alapag. Dy declined to disclose which players will be recruited, explaining that the timing of the announcement is in line with marketing goals. He said the other import is “well-known” but wouldn’t confirm if he ever played in the NBA.

Assistant coach Mac Cuan said Johnson’s import partner will be a big center or power forward. “We’re still discussing who could complement Ivan but we want a bigger import than Ivan who can protect the rim,” he said. “It’s looking a lot better than the lineup and our imports last year.”

Dean's Corner ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1

Dy said Alab would’ve enlisted Christian Standhardinger but it was too late. “When Christian arrived to play for Gilas, we found out his agent had already committed for him to play for Hong Kong in the ABL,” he said. “Jimmy talked to Christian who would’ve preferred to join us.” Standhardinger, however, has applied for the PBA draft but won’t be available to play until after his six-month Hong Kong contract expires.

Dy said Alab’s ABL debut last season was a break-even proposition. “We’re happy with our TV ratings and the reception of the fans wherever we played,” he said. “Air Asia took care of our flights up to 20 persons but when we played away games, we provided for our board and lodging.”

Dy said he’s looking forward to a breakthrough this season. “There are nine teams playing – Foshan of China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Chinese-Taipei, Vietnam, Hong Kong and Alab,” he said. “The games will be more competitive. Last season, we lost to Singapore in the semifinals and Hong Kong went on to win the title. We’re making a strong push for the championship this season.”

Dean's Corner ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1
  • Follow Us: