NU to push for Park's eligibility
- Olmin Leyba () - July 4, 2011 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - National University (NU) officials yesterday maintained that prized rookie Bobby Ray Parks Jr. has met all the eligibility requirements for players who studied abroad and should be allowed to play for the Bulldogs in the coming UAAP Season 74.

Some quarters are questioning Parks Jr.’s eligibility for the season, citing rules that require a two-year residency period for students who studied abroad. The Manila-born Parks Jr., 18, went to US schools for three years before enrolling at NU last year.

But NU athletic director Junel Baculi explained that there’s an exemption to the two-year sit-out in the eligibility rules, given to children of parents assigned abroad due to the nature of their jobs and children whose parents are OFWs.

“We firmly believe he can play because his mother went to the US to work and thus qualifies under the exemption for children with parents working abroad,” Baculi told The STAR.

Parks Jr. was born in the Philippines to seven-time PBA Best Import Bobby Parks Sr. and Marifer Barbosa. In 2003, his mom went to the US to work while his dad followed suit in 2005 to “take a better paying job” there. In 2006, the elder Parks brought the young Parks and his sister Celine back to the States.

Parks Jr., who finished grade seven at the International Christian Academy in Paranaque, spent his eighth grade at Redway Elementary School and 9th to 11th grades at St. George’s in the US.

After the 2009 US recession in the US, Parks Sr. got a job as NU assistant athletic director and brought his son back to Manila in 2010. He returned to Manila for his 12th grade at NU but according to Parks Sr., the Department of Education declared he had enough credits to be accelerated to college so he enrolled as an IT freshman at NU last year.

“Ray’s case is different from others who left the country to study then went back just to play. He was born at the Makati Med, he grew up here but had to leave because of our work,” Parks Sr. said.

“He’s fluent in Tagalog and rendered himself available anytime the country needs him to play in international meets,” he added. “He has offers in the US but decided to stay here and try to help bring the glory back to Phl basketball.”

Baculi said NU will present all the documents to prove Parks’ eligibility, including authenticated papers from the Phl Consul in LA and employment contracts of his mother, to the UAAP board on its meeting on July 5.

“He should no longer be subject to the two-year residency,” said Baculi of the 6-4 Parks. “Technically, he already spent one year in residency with us, which in the first place shouldn’t actually be the case.”

Parks Sr. said his son is really looking forward for play in the UAAP, as well as join the Phl five that will play in the Southeast East Asian Games.

“He’s hopeful they’re gonna let him play, because he’s qualified to play, and show his skills for the entertainment of basketball fans in the country,” said Parks Sr.

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