by Jonas Terrado
Games Sunday (Mall of Asia Arena)
4:30 p.m. – Blackwater vs Meralco
6:45 p.m. – Alaska vs Columbian
Rookie Ray Parks is hoping the start his new beginning on a winning note as Blackwater squares off with Meralco in the start of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Attention is expected to center around Parks as he makes his much-awaited PBA debut in the Elite’s 4:30 p.m. match with the Bolts.
The Alaska Aces take on the Columbian Dyip in the nightcap set at 6:45 p.m.
Many are eager to see if Parks can replicate his previous success where he suited up in the NBA D-League before winning three Most Valuable Player awards for Alab Pilipinas in the ASEAN Basketball League.
But Parks is more concerned with helping the Elite get things on the right track after going just 2-9 in the Philippine Cup.
“My focus remains the same in any league, just trying to get the first win,” said Parks.
Also making a debut is Blackwater coach Aries Dimaunahan, who was tapped to man the sidelines on an interim basis after the team’s Philippine Cup exit.
Dimaunahan will up for a big task coaching against Meralco’s Norman Black but he’s looking at getting steady contributions from everyone including Blackwater import Alex Stepheson.
Stepheson takes on his former team which fielded Gani Lawal, who made a strong impression during Meralco’s tune-up matches.
But Meralco will miss the services of new acquisition Raymond Almazan due to an ankle injury.
Almazan joined the Bolts after being traded earlier this week from Rain or Shine in exchange for two first round picks in 2019 and 2021.