Tab Baldwin on Ray Parks: We want him in Gilas now

Gilas Pilipinas coach Tab Baldwin believes now is the perfect time to bring in talented wingman Ray Parks into the Gilas Pilipinas training pool, confident that the former National U star could have a bright future with the national team.

The 6-foot-4 Parks, 24, has been included in the 24-strong training pool that will be submitted by Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas before the May 4 deadline to the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) ahead of the Manila Olympic Qualifying tourney set from July 5 to 10 at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Baldwin, 57, is convinced Parks will be a big help as Gilas Pilipinas gears up for what is expected a tough drive of clinching the lone ticket to this year’s Rio de Janiero Olympics via the Manila qualifiers.

“He’s a fine player and if he’s available, we want him in Gilas now,” Baldwin told sports scribes on Saturday after calling the shots for Ateneo as its designated team consultant during a 91-93 overtime loss to University of the East in the 2016 Filoil Flying V Preseason Premier Cup at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.

Parks, a two-time UAAP MVP with the Bulldogs, is the sixth amateur standout to be included in the list, joining the likes of Ateneo star Kiefer Ravena, University of Santo Tomas standout Kevin Ferrer and three vital cogs of reigning UAAP titlist Far Eastern U—Mac Belo, Roger Pogoy and Russell Escoto.

Baldwin and Parks previously worked together under Sinag Pilipinas colors during the Southeast Asia Basketball Association Championship (SEABA) in Singapore last year, with the Nationals sweeping their way to their seventh overall crown.

Since then, Parks returned back to the United States to chase his NBA dream but he went undrafted in the rookie draft. He saw action for the Dallas Mavericks in the Summer League and eventually found himself in the NBA’s Developmental League with the Texas Legends.

Parks flew back to the country last week and immediately indicated his intention of joining Gilas practice once it resumes.

“I think he’s got a future with Gilas and I think it’s time to bring him in the pool,” said Baldwin. “As long as he has confirmed that he will be available, then we want him in.” – By Jerome Lagunzad

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