MANILA, Philippines – All eyes will be on Ray Parks as he returns to national team duty when Gilas Pilipinas kicks off its FIBA Asia Cup campaign in Indonesia against Lebanon on Wednesday, July 13.
Parks, who last played for the Philippines in the 2017 Southeast Asian Games, is expected to provide much-needed firepower and veteran presence for the young national squad which has an average age of 24 years old.
The 29-year-old guard normed 10.6 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and 1.1 steals in his rookie season in the Japan B. League for the Nagoya Diamond Dolphins.
Also serving as an elder statesmen for the national squad are Parks’ fellow B. League stars Kiefer and Third Ravena and PBA big man Poy Erram.
“We see a lot of versatility and flexibility, those guys can play multiple positions,” said Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes about the addition of Parks and Thirdy Ravena, who were not part of the roster in the previous window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.
“Hopefully, we can use that to work on different combinations and give the other teams different looks.”
With an average height of 6-foot-5, Lebanon will be spearheaded by 6-foot-9 big man Jonathan Arledge and 6-foot-8 forward Youssef Khayat.
Arledge plays in Portugal, while Khayat – a promising 18-year-old prospect who recently committed to Michigan in the US NCAA – sees action in France.
Game time is 9 pm.