SMART CLARK GIGA CITY–Ray Parks Jr. showed how bad he wanted to make his first-ever PBA finals appearance.
Parks was on fire anew as he dropped 26 points, 15 of those coming in the fourth quarter, to tow TNT past Phoenix Super LPG, 91-81, in the do-or-die Philippine Cup semifinal game on Friday night at the AUF Arena.
With the Fuel Masters threatening within 56-64 early in the final frame, the second-generation player hit two layups that sandwiched Poy Erram’s basket to restore a 14-point gap for the Tropang Giga, 70-56.
The 27-year-old two-way guard continued with his scoring exploits to keep the Calvin Abueva-led Phoenix at bay.
He also tallied 10 rebounds, six assists and a steal in 45 minutes of action, just a day in between of his 36-point explosion in 46 minutes of play that helped send the series to a rubber match.
For Parks, it is the sacrifice they are making here in the well-contained bubble that serves as his motivation.
“We’re here now. We sacrificed too much. We sacrificed not seeing our families. This is really dedicated to them and we just played our best. It is not easy being away from them, it is not easy being in a bubble,” he said.
Parks secured his first chance to seize a PBA championship, something that he was not able to get in his rookie season with Blackwater last year.
“We just got to take pride in the moment, take advantage of the moment. It is who you play for and that is my family (team) right here,” he said.
But the task is not yet done for the former two-time UAAP MVP, who is eyeing to snare his first championship in the pros and help TNT snap a five-year title drought.
“We just wanted to make it into the finals and the job is not finished yet.”