MVP questions Parks’ decision to take sabbatical

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    IT seems there’s more than what meets the eye over the stunning decision of TNT star wingman Ray Parks not to suit up in the PBA’s 46th season.

    No less than PLDT chairman and CEO and team owner Manny V. Pangilinan questioned Parks’ move last Saturday.

    “This photo (was) taken Thursday last week, around 9 p.m., February 25, in San Juan, La Union,” Pangilinan said on his Facebook page, referring to a photo where Parks was seen with a guy on a beach.

    “I don’t see any mother being cared for, and as far as I know, La Union is nowhere near California. Judge for yourself,” he added.

    An Instagram video posted by 30th Southeast Asian Games gold medalist in men’s longboard Roger Casugay last Saturday also showed he and Parks were working out in San Juan, La Union.

    The 6-foot-4 Parks cited “personal reasons” why he chose to skip the season.

    “It is with a heavy heart that I will have to excuse myself and not partake in this year’s PBA season due to personal reasons which in particular, my family,” Parks said last Saturday on his social media accounts.

    “It was not an easy decision to make, especially since I’ve been in constant talks with TNT management but right now, this is what’s best for me and my family.”

    The former National University standout and two-time UAAP MVP, whose one-year contract with TNT expired at the end of last season, did not rule out the possibility of returning to the squad.

    “I will always be grateful for the opportunity to represent TNT and be part of such a special team and culture,” Parks said.

    “Hopefully one day, once everything is resolved, I can come back to the team and help bring a championship to TNT.”

    Parks, 28, led the Tropang Giga in the Clark bubble with 22.4 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and 1.5 steals in 17 games.

    TNT wound up with a 7-4 card after the elimination round and hurdled Alaska and Phoenix Super LPG in the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively to reach the Big Dance.

    With Parks nursing a strained calf injury, the Tropang Giga lost to Ginebra in five games in the finals.

    Multi-titled coach Chot Reyes took over at the TNT helm anew last month.

    The Tropang Giga signed up free agents Glenn Khobuntin, Dave Marcelo, and Ping Exciminiano, while Kelly Williams came out of retirement last Thursday to beef up the team that has the likes of Jayson Castro, Roger Pogoy, JP Erram, and Troy Rosario.

    After seeing action in the NBA G League and with Alab Pilipinas in the ABL, Parks was tabbed No. 2 overall by Blackwater in the 2018 draft for two conferences before he was shipped to the Tropang Giga in late 2019.