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03-31-2013, 09:16 AM
Bobby Parks loses battle with cancer, passes away at 51
By Nelson Beltran (The Philippine Star) | Updated March 31, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Bobby Parks, among the greatest imports that ever played in the Philippine Basketball Association, lost his battle with cancer, passing away yesterday at 51.

Parks, a champion import with San Miguel Beer and Shell, died of lung cancer which developed from his previously untreated laryngeal cancer, leaving behind a great legacy in the local pro play.

The former Memphis State U stalwart, a third-round choice by the Atlanta Hawks in the 1984 NBA Draft, played in the PBA from 1987 to 1993, making the PBA Hall of Fame in 2009 with his record seven Best Import citations.

Before his passing, he’s connected, among others, with the National University Bulldogs where his son Bobby Ray Jr. is currently the star player.

He also coached the San Miguel Beermen in the Asean Basketball League (ABL).

Hard court peers and foes showered Parks with praises and tributes moments after his passing.

“Bobby loved his family, friends n basketball immensely. He leaves behind a legacy of passion, excellence and winning. RIP Bob. You are home,” said former PBA commissioner Noli Eala on his Twitter account.

“More than his seven Best Import Awards, Bobby brought in an un-import-like work ethic, in contrast to the ‘pa-star’ ways of most imports then and now,” posted national coach Chot Reyes on his own Twitter page.

“As a player, there was no way to stop him. Every time we schemed to stop him, he’d either seen the scheme before or figured it out so quickly that it became useless,” said Alaska coach Tim Cone.


I was glad that I met Bobby in person in Gameface Radio some years back.

Thank you for the memories, Bobby. May you live forever.

03-31-2013, 03:11 PM
Heritage Park pala burol.

Sam Miguel
04-01-2013, 10:48 AM
The Bobby Parks I knew


By Bill Velasco

(The Philippine Star) | Updated April 1, 2013 - 12:00am

Bobby Parks has always been a symbol of excellence for me. He was the type of player who could do anything on the basketball court, yet always chose to do what was best for the team. And that flawless jump shot of his was money. When he, Benjie Paras and Ronnie Magsanoc were on the floor, Shell was nearly unstoppable: the ‘Point Laureate’ on the outside, the “Tower of Power” on the inside, and ‘Memphis Slim’ everywhere in between. And oh, those battles with Ginebra in the early ‘90’s were suspenseful, rugged, mind-blowing struggles. I remember. I was there.

Bobby was always a great interview, accommodating and light-hearted, not a mean bone in his body. While other imports acted like they were doing the press a favor, Parks led by example, on and off the court. His achievements will probably never be broken. Imports are more mercenary now, some mere flashes in the pan, others just downright goons. Bobby was real. He lived life and squeezed the juice out of it. Everybody wanted an import like Bobby Parks.

In 1997, the Philippines rejoined the ABC Champions Cup after an absence of about eight years. Allowed two reinforcements, Andok’s Philippines had Bobby and Alex Coles, the former Ginebra import who leapfrogged five people to win a PBA slam dunk contest. The games were held at the old Malaysian Basketball Association (MABA) coliseum.

On one play, Bobby was still in the backcourt, and spotted Coles racing ahead. He threw a perfect alley-oop pass and Coles caught the ball with his elbows above the rim, cocked it, and slammed it in. The crowd reaction was so intense, the Malaysian coach was forced to call a timeout to calm his players down.

But I also saw how much of a warrior Bobby was. He and Alex were being tripped, slapped in the groin and elbowed. At halftime, he showed me his right hand. The skin between his thumb and index finger had been gouged out, a white half-circle of flesh peeking through, in the perfect shape of a fingernail. But he never said anything. He just played better, and led his team to a championship.

A couple of years later, Bobby was paired with Tony Harris, the epitome of the new breed of import, swaggering, selfish and arrogant. Bobby was the stabilizing force on a team that could have fallen apart at any time. And whenever ‘Hurricane’ went solo against an entire defense, Bobby was there to fight for the rebound or help out. At worst, he would just shake his head or ask for the ball.

Then there was the NBA 2Ball contest almost a decade ago. My younger son Daniel and I decided to join. After all, he was a budding baller at 11, in fact the only child in the competition. Bobby and his 16-year old older son also joined, along with a pair of other teams of coaches and amateur players. Anybody can have a great game for one minute, and Daniel and I did, winning the shootout and claiming our prizes from the Golden State Warrior Girls.

Needless to say, that didn’t sit too well with Mr. Parks. In the simultaneously held three-point shootout, he recalled his fearsome form of just a few years before, and promptly smoked everybody. As we were getting our trophies, he simply said, “I couldn’t let you have all the hardware.” With a smile, at that.

That night, Daniel couldn’t sleep, clutching his glass NBA Madness trophy. “We beat adults! We beat adults!” he kept exclaiming. Then after a moment of sudden realization, his eyes widened and he shouted “We beat Bobby Parks! We beat Bobby Parks!” I was just glad Bobby never heard him. I’m sure the payback would have hurt like hell.

Bobby never said no to helping out a Philippine team, either. It was, in fact, in a scrimmage with one that he suffered his first major injury. He had been battered, undercut, fouled hard and tripped so many times, it was amazing he wasn’t in the hospital every other week. He just willed himself and his team on.

Bobby and former Shell team manager Charlie Favis also set up The Hoops School. Going to hundreds of smaller schools in Metro Manila and its surroundings to spread their knowledge of hoops. Bobby was always generous with his time and his smile. I never heard him raise his voice, no matter how things were getting out of hand in anything. He always knew everything would be right in the end.

Thank you for the memories, Bobby Ray. And for who you were. You were the best. Ever.

Sam Miguel
04-01-2013, 11:12 AM
Chambers: 'Parks was the best import I've ever played against'

By Alder Almo

(philstar.com) | Updated April 1, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – Bobby Parks was a legend on and off the court.

Even his opponents would attest to that.

Parks, who died yesterday due to complications that stemmed from his laryngeal (throat) cancer, is revered as one of the greatest imports who played in the PBA.

Sean Chambers, who went to countless battles against Parks in the PBA, showed a lot of respect for his old nemesis on the court but a good friend off it on his Facebook page on Sunday.

“Sad to hear, my dear friend Bobby Ray Parks was called home to be with our Heavenly Father. Bobby was the best import I've ever played against in the Philippines,” said Chambers, who also became a staple in the PBA in the 90's

Three years after the former Memphis State star got selected in the third round as the 58th overall pick of the Atlanta Hawks in the 1984 NBA Rookie Draft class that included future NBA Hall of Famers Hakeem Olajuwon and Michael Jordan, Parks found himself playing in the PBA.

Sean ChambersIn 1987, Parks started his career in the Philippines that would extend to 12 years and eventually became his second home. In 1989, Chambers followed.

After playing briefly with San Miguel Beer under another PBA legendary import and coach Norman Black, Parks transferred to Shell franchise where he became synonymous with the team along with its dynamic local tandem of Benjie Paras and Ronnie Magsanoc.

At the end of his PBA career, Parks was one of the only three imports to have scored at least 8,000 points in the league according to PBA Stats Bureau chief Fidel Mangonon III, with the other two being Black and Chambers.

While Chambers had won the Best Import only once (during Alaska’s historic 1996 Grandslam run), Parks set the bar high for the imports by winning the award an unprecedented seven times during his colorful career. In 2008, Parks was inducted to the PBA Hall of Fame.

“There were moments when I would be in awe of Bobby talents and work ethics. Bobby had tremendous basketball skills level, to go along with his high IQ. Bobby was tough as nails on the basketball court and a true gentleman with a big kind heart off the court,” Chambers added.

“The Philippines basketball world has truly lost a great one. I will miss my friend Bobby, rest in peace.”

Sam Miguel
04-01-2013, 11:15 AM
PBA names Best Import award after Bobby Parks

By Alder Almo

(philstar.com) | Updated April 1, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – The PBA will name the Best Import award after the late Bobby Parks.

PBA Commissioner Chito Salud announced on Sunday that the league will honor the legendary import, who won the award for an unprecedented seven times during a 12-year career in the Philippines that started in 1987.

“Bobby Parks, a seven-time PBA best import awardee, epitomized everything we could hope for an import: highly skilled, hardworking, respectful of host country rules and sensibilities and a perfect gentleman on and off the court,” Salud said in a statement.

“I therefore cannot think of a better import and human being after which to name the best import award (Bobby Parks Best Import Award), both to honor Bobby's immense contribution to PBA as well as to serve as a shining example and inspiration to all imports who play in our shores," Salud added.

The idea was picked up by Gilas coach Chot Reyes from a fan on Twitter on Saturday shortly after news of Parks' passing away broke out.

"In my response to twitter clamor, My text to Com Salud: 'Maybe d PBA can name d Best Import Awards as d Bobby Parks Trophy," Reyes said on his Twitter account (@coachot).

The league also paid homage to Parks with a minute of silence before the tip-off of the San Mig Coffee-Barako Bull game on Sunday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Parks, who died yesterday due to complications that stemmed from laryngeal (throat) cancer which was first diagnosed in 2008, was also inducted to the PBA Hall of Fame in 2008 as one of the only three imports to be enshrined in the select company (the other two was Norman Black and Billy Ray Bates).

04-01-2013, 11:25 PM
Tribute to BOBBY PARKS

IT’S EASTER Sunday. While the whole of Christianity is celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Filipino basketball community is grieving the loss of two gentlemen during the Holy Week who in their own way have made great contributions to the sport. READ MORE (http://servssports.wordpress.com/2013/03/31/ben-and-bobby/).

Sam Miguel
04-02-2013, 08:31 AM
Ray Parks suffers another huge loss

10:51 pm | Sunday, March 31st, 2013

RAY Parks may be a winner on the hardcourt. But the past months had been marked by two huge personal losses for the amateur basketball star.

The 20-year-old Ray lost his father, seven-time PBA Best Import Bobby Parks, to cancer Saturday afternoon, just 14 months after his girlfriend, former TV sports reporter Maan Panganiban, died from the same vicious disease.

“Turn a negative into a positive, that’s one thing I learned from him,” a visibly pained Ray said yesterday, adding that he still couldn’t talk much about his father, with whom he is known to be close.

In the last UAAP season, Ray again proved his worth as he captured his second straight Most Valuable Player award while towing the National University to the Final Four for the first time in 11 years.

It was a season, which Ray said, was dedicated to the memory of Panganiban, who died at 25 years old in January last year due to lymphoma, a type of blood cancer.

In the Bulldogs’ first game last year, the 6-foot-3 shooting guard came out of the dugout wearing a warmup shirt printed with “I love Maan.”

Now, Ray tries to come to terms again with another tragedy as his father passed away after more than a year of battling larynx and lung cancer. He was 51.

Bobby made his Philippine debut with San Miguel Beer in 1987 and built an unparalleled career for the next 12 seasons with the Shell Turbo Chargers where he emerged as one of the most dominant imports the PBA had seen.

He was inducted into the PBA Hall of Fame in 2009 but fell ill the following year, before deciding to return to the Philippines with Ray.

Until the end, basketball kept Bobby busy as he coached the San Miguel Beermen in the Asean Basketball League, although he had to step down late last year due to health reasons.
He also worked as an assistant athletic director for NU.

Bobby is survived by his wife Jasmine and two other children.
His remains lie in state at Heritage Park in Taguig. Interment details will be announced soon.

Come June, Ray will be back in the UAAP hardcourt hoping to turn again a negative into a positive, just the way Bobby would have wanted.

“Everything that I am today is because of him,” said Ray. “It was a good 20 years with him.”

Sam Miguel
04-03-2013, 08:33 AM
Parks: NBA’s loss was PBA’s gain

By Joaquin Henson

(The Philippine Star) | Updated April 3, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Bobby Parks was probably the best cager never to play in the NBA. He came close to making it to the Atlanta Hawks lineup in 1984-85 but was coach Mike Fratello’s last cut before the regular season opened. Parks managed to suit up for the Hawks in the preseason and in a photo recently uncovered, was shown defending New York’s Bernard King.

Parks, 51, was the Hawks’ third round pick in the 1984 draft where Hakeem Olajuwon, Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley and John Stockton were also chosen. He was the 58th of 228 players picked over 10 rounds and went ahead of Rick Carlisle, Eddie Wilkins, Ken Bannister and Oscar Schmidt.

Last Saturday, Parks passed away at the San Juan De Dios hospital where he was confined for 11 days in the intensive care unit. He stayed at St. Luke’s Medical Center in Global City for a month then returned home for two weeks before the confinement at San Juan De Dios.

Parks’ wife Jasmine said he will be cremated. The family met yesterday afternoon to discuss final interment arrangements. Parks’ first wife Zhaine Barbosa and daughter Celine Ira, 17, arrived from Los Angeles the other day. Zhaine is NU star Bobby Ray’s mother. Parks has another son Montell or Summer, 13, with Jasmine. Bobby Ray, 20, was excused from NU practice by coach Eric Altamirano yesterday but insisted on attending. “Ray told Eric his dad would have wanted him not to skip practice,” said Altamirano’s wife Marissa.

Parks wore his familiar No. 22 with the Hawks in the NBA preseason. His teammates included Doc Rivers, Stewart Granger, Kevin Willis, Randy Wittman, Mike Glenn, Antoine Carr, Walker Russell and Dominique Wilkins. Granger and Russell later played in the PBA where Parks averaged a whopping 40.5 points and 15.2 rebounds in 221 games over 13 seasons from 1987 to 1999. At the height of his stardom, Parks hit at a 52.6 clip and fired a career-high 72 points with Shell in 1989. The seven-time Best Import awardee played his last PBA game as a 39-year-old fill-in for Lester Neal in the 1999 Governors Cup, compiling 23 points, 11 rebounds, six assists and three blocked shots in a 48-minute no-relief job. In 2009, Parks was enshrined in the PBA Hall of Fame. Only five players averaged at least 40 points in their PBA career and Parks is in the list with Billy Ray Bates (46.2), Lew Massey (43.4), Larry McNeill (41.7) and Norman Black (40.1). He was extremely loyal to the Shell franchise with whom he played in 12 of his 13 PBA seasons.

Parks played four years under coach Dana Kirk at Memphis State and scored 1,266 points as the Tigers registered an overall record of 86-34 from 1980 to 1984. He sat out the last 12 games of his senior season with a knee injury and ended his college career averaging 10.6 points and 5.0 rebounds. His Memphis State teammates included William Bedford, Keith Lee and Andre Turner.

Parks was on the Miami Tropics team that won the first United States Basketball League (USBL) title in 1987. He scored 18 points in Miami’s 103-99 win over Rhode Island for the crown. Parks’ teammates included World Free, Mario Elie and future PBA import Clinton Wheeler. In 1990, Parks played briefly with the Memphis Rockers in the World Basketball League (WBL), averaging 15.4 points in five games. Among his teammates were John Starks and future PBA imports Winston Crite, Vince Askew, Tony White, Andrew Moten and Sylvester Gray. Parks also played in the Continental Basketball Association and as an import in France.

In the FIBA-Asia Clubs Championships (now called the Champions Cup), Parks starred on two title squads – Andok’s in 1995 and Hapee Toothpaste in 1996, both under coach Junel Baculi. A teammate on both squads was Leo Austria who succeeded Parks as San Miguel Beer head coach in the ABL this season. Parks’ import partner in 1995 was Alex Coles and in 1996, it was Tony Harris.

Parks also saw action as an import in Indonesia and Brunei. After retiring from the PBA, he suited up for Lhuillier Kwarta Padala in the NBL in 2003 and the Cebu Jewellers in the Sinulog Cup invitationals in 2005. Parks went back to the US in 2006 and looked after his son Ray until 2010 when they returned to Manila. Parks became a consultant with NU where Baculi is sports director and Petron in the PBA then coached San Miguel Beer to the ABL finals last season, finishing a win away from bagging the championship.

It is fitting that the PBA will now award the Bobby Parks Best Import trophy for every reinforced conference. “Bobby epitomized everything we could hope for an import – highly skilled, hard-working, respectful of host country rules and sensibilities and a perfect gentleman on and off the court,” said PBA commissioner Chito Salud. “I therefore cannot think of a better import and human being after which to name the Best Import award, both to honor Bobby’s immense contribution to the PBA as well as to serve as a shining example and inspiration to all imports who play on our shores.”