Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Ray Parks is UAAP Season 75 MVP

Ray Parks is UAAP Season 75 MVP

His name is Parks. Ray Parks.

Even before Ray set foot on National University’s campus, the forum chatter was all about Bobby Ray Parks’ son. You know the litany – he was the eldest son of Memphis Slim, the only seven-time Philippine Basketball Association Best Import Awardee who led three teams to championships – San Miguel, Shell, and Añejo.

Two years into Ray Parks’ career with NU and in the UAAP, he is the Most Valuable Player of the UAAP Men’s Basketball tournament. Again.

He will be the ninth collegian to repeat as league MVP and the first since FEU’s Arwind Santos who turned the trick in 2004 and 2005. The other back-to-back MVPs are UE’s Allan Caidic (1984-85), Ateneo’s Jun Reyes (1987-88) and Rich Alvarez (2000-01), La Salle’s Jun Limpot (1989-90) and Mark Telan (1996-97), and UST’s Dennis Espino (1993-94).

Last season there were barbs that Parks didn’t deserve the trophy as NU did not crack the Final Four. Consider that done.

NU could have folded like in years past but this season, they got the job done. In a scintillating endgame against FEU to close out the elimination round, one that gave Eric Altamirano squad the third seed in the league’s playoffs, Parks hit two huge three-pointers to lift the Bulldogs to a pulsating comeback win just when they looked to be dead in the water. The net result? A return to the Final Four for the Sampaloc-based university that was last achieved in 2006.

Ray averaged 24.1 points, 7.2 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 1.5 steals, 1.3 blocks, while playing for 33 minutes per game. This – along with NU’s wins – translated into 77.2857 statistical points; best in the league.

At the rate Ray is going, the sophomore Bulldog will need a massive trophy case. He’s helped NU to championships in the Fr. Martin’s Cup, University Games, and FilOil Premier Cup. He also has a gold medal as part of the Sinag team that competed in the last Southeast Asian Games. The remaining amateur crowns he has yet to win are the coveted UAAP and Champions League trophies.

The frightening thing is he is as previously mentioned – a sophomore. There’s a lot more to conquer after this season more so where and when he decides to turn pro.

And he has the luxury of playing three different positions from the one to the two and three-spots with the greatest ease. His game, decried as being nothing more than a spectacular dunker, has been more well rounded this season. He’s got a great stroke from the outside and he can dish the rock s good as any point guard in the league and he can play stifling defense. And there are his highlight reel finishes that are all world.

In a career that is just getting started, Ray will scale new heights because of his prodigious talent not only for his school but also for Filipinos everywhere. And by the time he’s done, who knows, maybe Bobby Ray Parks Sr. will be known as Ray Parks’ dad.

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