A decade older, Hughes all praises for 23-year-old Parks Jr.

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Jan 10, 2017 10:05 AM
A decade older, Hughes all praises for 23-year-old Parks Jr.
AROUND THE WORLD. According to long-time veteran James Hughes, Ray Parks Jr. is one of the tougher ballers around.

Just like he has done throughout the 2016 Asean Basketball League, Ray Parks Jr. yet again proved last Sunday that he was the star of the show.

Stuffing the stat sheet anew with 28 points, eight rebounds, and six assists, Parks Jr. lifted Alab Pilipinas back over .500.

The Filipino-American impressed so much that he even had teammate 33-year-old James Hughes, a longtime veteran of basketball, gushing. “He’s a tough guy. I’ve seen a lot of guys throughout my career and he’s one of the tougher guys,” Hughes expressed.

He then continued, “Not only is he talented, but he’s also smart. He knows the game at such a young age.”

That young age, 23 to be exact, is also what the American reinforcement jokingly hoped to take away from his new teammate. “He’s really young. I wish I could steal some of his youth,” he quipped while chuckling.

Still, even with Parks Jr. forming a new bond with Hughes and rekindling his relationship with also new import Sampson Carter, head coach Mac Cuan said it’s far from smooth sailing for Alab. “There’s a concern for us kasi we really can’t gauge kung nasaan kami sa liga kasi dalawa pa lang yung team na nalalaro namin,” he shared.

The Filipinos have played five games in the tournament and have gone three-of-three against Kaohsiung and zero-for-two against Singapore. That means that defending champion Malaysia, strong-starting Hong Kong, and dangerous Saigon are yet to come in the schedule.

Nonetheless, Cuan was nothing but glad that they already have three wins to show – considering they only held their first-ever practice with one week to go before the season. “Blessing din na we played Kaohsiung kasi nag-aadjust pa lang din sila. So kahit nag-aadjust pa lang kami, nakakuha na kami ng dalawang panalo,” he said.

Even the defeats at the hands of the Slingers had a silver lining in the Alab mentor’s eyes. As he put it, “Yung two losses naman, just really mental lapses in the end. We were there in the game and that’s why I believe we can match up with everybody.”

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