This appears on philstar.com
Jasper Parker’s road
by rick olivares
When Jasper Parker leaves the school dorm at Southwestern University, even after four months in Cebu, he still isn’t sure where the roads lead.
“I don’t know where they lead to,” Parker laughs. “But they gotta lead somewhere. I’ll figure it out.”
Cebu isn’t Orange County, California where Parker grew up, “But it isn’t so bad. It takes some getting used to though.”
Parker was originally supposed to head to Manila and play for the Far Eastern University Tamaraws but he took a detour to Cebu where he found a home with SWU. “I guess it’s easier for my transition to the Philippines because my mother’s family is from here.”
Jasper doesn’t speak much Filipino as it was hardly used at home. “I did know ‘salamat’ and a few other words but that’s pretty much it.”
If speaking the vernacular is difficult how much more in Cebuano. “My other teammates – Landry (Sanjo) and Adam (Mohammed) can understand it or even speak some if it so they do the translating for me. But at least in Cebu, they speak English as well so it isn’t much of a problem.”
It is on the court where the 5’10” Parker lets his game speak for himself.
He’s given the SWU Cobras another dimension with his quarterbacking and superb outside shooting drawing comparisons to a young Jimmy Alapag. His addition, along with the sweet shooting Anton Pardo had made up for the loss of Monbert Arong who transferred to FEU and the sidelining of sniper Melvin Holper who has back problems.
“I’ve seen Jimmy play and I am flattered by the comparison,” said Jasper. “But I have still a ways to go.”
Growing up in California, Parker was a Los Angeles Lakers fan. He was even happier when Steve Nash joined the Lakers even if he has yet to recapture his form in Phoenix. “I try to incorporate some what Steve does but of course,, you have to find your own style and game. But yep, I’m a Steve Nash fan.”
In Cebu, it hoped that he will help the SWU Cobras unseat the University of the Visayas Green Lancers as CESAFI champions. But before that, there’s the matter of the Filoil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup. SWU head coach Yayoy Alcoseba has made no bones about winning the pre-season tourney. “Last year was a learning process for us,” said the coach. “This year we want to take even bigger steps. We’d like to win it.”
“The games held here in Cebu are huge not only for us but the other Cebuano teams (University of San Carlos and UV),” explained Parker. “In Manila, it is up to us to adjust to the environment, the game atmosphere, and even the calls. So here it is the other way around.”
It isn’t only his team that needed to adapt, he himself had to adjust to the heat, the environment, and the calls. “In my two games in Manila, I fouled out every time and coach says I need to stay on the floor if I want to help my team,” noted Jasper. “Just reaching in is tough because the referees immediately blow the whistle whether you touch the opposing player or not. It’s something I am not very conscious of.”
He played one year in Irvine Valley College before coming to the Philippines. Prior to that, Parker starred for the Sunny Hills High Lancers in Fullerton, California where he averaged 13.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, 4.6 assists, and 2.3 steals per game.
For the Cobras, Jasper is averaging 9.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 0.5 steals in four matches in the Filoil Cup while logging in 26.5 minutes per outing.
And with SWU at 4-0, they have a good chance of advancing to the knockout stages of the tournament. But they have to win their last two games if they want to realize that ambition.
When speaking of long term ambition, aside from leading SWU to cage glory, Parker hopes to finish and get his degree in SWU then if possible play in the Philippine Basketball Association. “I hope that from here is Cebu, my road leads to the PBA. But we’ll see. I gotta figure that out.”