Decoding the Ray Parks puzzle

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Decoding the Ray Parks puzzle

After a couple of blockbuster trades, the PBA was rocked by another bombshell. Bobby Ray Parks, Jr has declared that he is taking the next season off. Parks cited “family reasons” which is a usual (and mostly valid) reason for taking a game, a week or a month off.

Parks, though, has asked for a full season. He also gave the “grateful to (insert team/organization) for the opportunity” line. Also, he said he will rejoin TNT once his issue is resolved. We do not know the issue, and if Parks says “family” it simply means you lay your prying eyes off me.

MVP vs MVP
Anyone who thinks they can put one over Manny “MVP” Pangilinan’s head will probably think twice now. It’s not every day when one of the country’s top business figures uses his own social media to call you out, like a boss who got fed up by a truant employee’s excuses.

MVP called out Parks, himself a three-time ABL MVP, for posting a beach pic, which MVP noted was far from California where Parks’ family resides. Basically, the boss of the MVP empire called BS on Parks reasons. It is rare to do it so blatantly and scathingly like what MVP did. He is fed up.

Perplexing Parks
Parks was reportedly offered a contract “superstars would grab.” Parks is a legit superstar who has won every individual award outside the PBA. He missed out on the Best Player of the Conference award in the bubble.

Parks refused, and if the PBA’s declared salary cap is to be believed, he is not going to get a higher offer. TNT Tropang Giga traded for him, even if it was to their farm team. TNT wanted to contend, tired of watching the other empire rack up their trophies and Ray Parks was key to their campaign.

Without Parks, TNT succumbed to Ginebra led by eventual BPC winner Stanley Pringle. Now, the rumors of Parks wanting out of the franchise is spreading. Why else would you leave the high salary and perks of being on an empire, if not to join the other side?

It would be unfair not to give the benefit of the doubt to Parks for us outsiders. Pangilinan disagrees, since he has put his money and next year’s campaign of his flagship franchise on the line for him. He has invested, and he does not intend to lose out.

Clues
Parks’ shocking announcement brought aspiring sleuths on the hunt for available clues. Time to read between the lines.

Parks’ message to the MVP group sounds permanent, despite his claim to the contrary. This is highly speculative, but what could not be denied is that there is now a rift between both sides. MVP may have burned that bridge, practically calling Parks a liar in public.

What could have triggered the ire of a savvy businessman? Parks is his main asset, and a smart, calculating tycoon like him would know better than to cause irreparable damage to the reputation of someone he would want in his employ in the future. MVP means business this time.

Wasted prime
On the other hand, what gave Parks the audacity to throw away another prime year in the PBA. Parks is already 28 years old and yet to complete one whole PBA season. He entered the league late, taking on basketball adventures that included a stint in the NBA D-League.

A barrage of individual awards could have been in the bag for Parks if he stayed on the MVP fold. He would have to lead an uphill battle against the retooled rival empire teams. Parks would undoubtedly be the main man of TNT as Jayson Castro continues to age. This would have been a career-defining year for him.

Social media followers noted that Parks deleted photos of his celebrity girlfriend who also did the same. Is this the “family” he was talking about? It would be a shame if non-basketball reasons ruined the career of a top talent. But nothing about this is not shameful at all.