Excitement wafted through the air when Tanduay Alab Pilipinas announced that PBA greats Jimmy Alapag, Dondon Hontiveros, and Danny Seigle are on board with them for their second year in the ASEAN Basketball League.
But for Alab’s main man Ray Parks, Jr., the addition of the future Hall of Famers means more than just excitement.
“It’s a privilege,” said the 24-year-old, who is now expected to provide leadership more than being the offensive linchpin. “Just to be able to learn from them, I wanna continue to learn and I can’t wait for the season. I’m really excited.”
The addition of those icons — Alapag as head coach, Seigle as consultant, and Hontiveros as a player — speaks volumes about how Alab is hard-pressed to perform much better compared to last year, where they wounded up fourth.
“We’re more experienced,” said the reigning ABL Local Most Valuable Player.
“From coach Danny Seigle; to coach Jimmy being the head coach; to me being on my second year; to bringing in veteran imports like Ivan (Johnson) and Reggie (Okosa); and to bringing in key players from the PBA, it’s huge.”
Parks, Jr.’s claim of Tanduay Alab becoming a much more mature squad for this season is now backed up strongly, as the sophomore club team earned a huge 81-76 win over SMART Gilas Pilipinas in a tune-up match.
“The team is getting better. Each and everybody plays a certain role,” said Parks Jr., who didn’t even suit up in the friendly at the Meralco Gym last Saturday.
“They did their best today. It’s a great team, Gilas yan talaga eh.
“Just everybody getting the chance to play against them, and our import was able to do what he does today where he did well, it’s just great for the team and the team’s morale going into November 19,” he added.
The tune-up win is a great morale-booster — a boost they truly need, as they will face defending champions Hongkong Eastern Sports Club.
“We’re definitely confident with ourselves,” said Parks, Jr. “We’ve been putting in the work. We just gotta continue working and stay healthy.”