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Ray of hope




The Ray Parks saga is nearing its end.

TNT KaTropa team manager Gabby Cui said they are close to reaching an agreement with Parks following his meeting with Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) commissioner Willie Marcial Wednesday afternoon.

Cui, who also manages Gilas Pilipinas, didn’t delve into details, but stressed that the deadlock between the controversial playmaker and the KaTropa are nearing its end.

Parks and the KaTropa have a rocky relationship.

According to a team insider, the son of seven-time Best Import awardee Bobby Ray Parks is asking for an amount that is way above the league’s salary cap for second year players. Later, online reports circulated, saying that Parks’ asking price was around P900,000 monthly, a figure that is way above the maximum P250,000 monthly salary that PBA teams can give to its sophomore players.

With that, Parks refused to sign a contract.

With no contract to hold on, he also doesn’t show up in the training of Gilas Pilipinas for the first window of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers.

Finally, Marcial stepped in.

In a conversation with Daily Tribune, Marcial explained the rules and the possible repercussion should Parks decides to force the issue. After all, Marcial and Parks enjoy a good relationship as it was the PBA chief who reportedly convinced the cager to join the league following his stint in the Asean Basketball League.

Cui said it appears that Parks had reconsidered his decision and is ready sit on the negotiating table anew.

And if luck rolls their way, the discussions could be done by the end of the week.

“We’re still negotiating the terms of his contract. We’re still talking to him, but I think we’re already close. Hopefully, we can reach a deal by the end of the week,” Cui said during Gilas Pilipinas’ training late Wednesday.

“We’ve been talking to Ray and the commissioner reached out to him as well. We’re trying to find a middle ground so that we can finally agree on the terms of his contract.”
Parks is a gem of a player.

After being taken with the second overall pick in the 2018 PBA Annual Rookie Draft, the 6-foot-4 combo guard had a strong rookie campaign, registering 19.6 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists to emerge as one of the top contenders for the Rookie of the Year award together with top pick CJ Perez of Columbian and injured Robert Bolick of NorthPort.

Cui admitted that they don’t want to lose a player like Parks.

“We want Ray to be on TNT and I think he wants to be with us as well. These things take time but, hopefully, by the end of the week, we can come to terms already,” Cui said.

“We want it to be faster, but that’s how negotiations go. We want to be very careful with the negotiations so that both sides will be happy and could have a win-win situation.”

Parks, and former De La Salle University standout Justin Baltazar, have yet to show up in Gilas training.

Cui, however, doubt if Parks would still join the training with barely four days left before facing Thailand in their first game.

“If he can join our Gilas training, we’ll be happy. But if it’s already too late, maybe it would be best for him to concentrate on TNT,” Cui said, adding that Parks already sent feelers that he wants to train with Gilas but he is bothered by their contract dispute.

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