Mental toughness the name of the game for Parks, league-best TNT

Published November 3, 2020, 7:29 PM

by Jeremiah Sevilla

Ray Parks Jr. of TNT dunks the ball in their game against NorthPort. (PBA Images)

SMART CLARK GIGA CITY–Ray Parks Jr. bore the brunt of the physicality in TNT’s previous game against NLEX last Thursday. 

With shoulders and knees covered in ice packs, Parks limped to his room at Quest Hotel after the Tropang Giga saw their unbeaten start end at the hands of the Road Warriors, 109-98. 

The 27-year-old guard had a bad fall off Will McAloney’s foul and was called for a flagrant foul over a scrappy sequence with JR Quiñahan late in that loss. 

That’s why head coach Bong Ravena made sure that the second generation Fil-Am cager would not lose his cool at the resumption of the PBA Philippine Cup on Tuesday. 

Asked what he told Parks after that highly-physical and commotion-marred match, Ravena replied: “Basta stay in the game lang. Like ng sinabi namin ni coach Mark (Dickel), ‘No matter what, don’t lose your focus on the game.'” 

“Basta ingat, kalmado at ready lang palagi. Hindi dapat mawala ‘yung temper.” 

Parks certainly heeded Ravena’s advice. 

Parks was laser-sharp on Tuesday at the AUF Sports Arena, scoring a game-high 22 points to power TNT’s 112-87 rout of NorthPort that practically secured them a quarterfinal spot and a longer stay in the bubble. 

The former D-League and ABL MVP also pulled down 10 rebounds to complete a double-double in almost 30 minutes of action without a single turnover. 

Together with Roger Pogoy, Troy Rosario and Jayson Castro, Parks sparked the Tropang Giga’s scorching start and he sustained it by dropping 11 points in the third quarter. 

Parks deflected credit to the whole TNT squad for bouncing back from that bitter defeat to NLEX. 

“Well, today was just a great response by the team. The ball found its energy. It was just a great response coming off that tough loss. It’s just a testament to the character of the team.”