The Games that Play Us: Ray Gun

Bobby Ray Parks -- NU's Ray Gun.
(image from
NU Bulldogs over the UP Fighting Maroons, 75-66

For one whole half the UP Fighting Maroons looked like they could break all preseason predictions. As Jett Manuel and Jelo Montecastro conspired in the second half to repeatedly fluster the NU offense, coach Ricky Dandan seemed like a genius. The Maroons’ defense was stifling any semblance of an NU attack, and they were making the Bulldogs pay in transition. Mike Silungan punctuated the sterling 2nd quarter performance with a buzzer-beating 3 and the handful of UP fans at courtside erupted as if their heroes were knee-deep in the Final Four.

Jelo Montecastro was good, but not good enough
to derail Parks and the Bulldogs.
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And then Bobby Ray Parks unfastened himself and he unloaded a game to remember.

Not since LA Tenorio has a rookie scored 30 points in a UAAP game. Not since Rabeh Al-Hussaini has it been done in the seniors division by ANYBODY.

Perhaps in a few years Parks could be playing in the same league those two guys are in. Maybe even somewhere bigger.

He’s that good.

And as the NU Bulldogs frustrated the UP Maroons in the 2nd half, limiting them to only 23 points while scoring 35 of their own, Parks reminded everyone why he made so much buzz over the summer.

He pretty much did everything.

He filled up the statsheet with 30 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals. He also made up for his dismal shooting against UST by making 8 of 13 field goals and missing just 2 of his 13 freebies. Nothing short of awesome from this kid.

I guess he just wanted to give a great performance to rival the one fellow newcomer Kiefer Ravena unloaded just one day prior. The two will go head-to-head on Thursday.

And as for UP? Perhaps they believed they were good enough to be called contenders after manhandling the UE Red Warriors in their first game. Now they know they still have a ways to go.

Jett Manuel has been coach Ricky Dandan's
surprise package this season.
(image from
The Mike & Mike pairing that torched UE sputtered against NU – they shot 6-of-22 from the field and produced just 14 points. Coach Dandan, however, found some new reliables in former CSB Blazer Montecastro and the surprising Manuel, who was more known as the Robin to Jeron Teng’s Batman (Jeric’s younger bro) in high school at Xavier. He’s been the most consistent performer for UP so far, and his production should continue to rise along with his minutes.

So heading into its big test against Ateneo, the Bulldogs have built some momentum behind the hot-shooting of their very own Ray Gun. Can he continue to sizzle against uncle Norman Black’s shutdown D, or will he explode anew? No matter what happens, it seems coach Eric Altamirano is content to let Parks show the way for NU. Despite his youth, he is Altamirano’s undisputed pack leader.

NU 75­ – Parks 30, Mbe 10, Javillonar 9, Villamor 8, Khobuntin 7, Terso 5, Eman 2, Alolino 2, Magat 2, Celiz 0, Singh 0, Neypes 0, Ignacio 0, Labing-isa 0
UP 66 – Manuel 21, Montecastro 12, Gamboa 9, Mbah 7, Gomez 6, Silungan 5, Romero 4, Wong 2, Maniego 0, Juruena 0, Gingerich 0, Wierzba 0
QS: 24-15, 40-43, 59-53, 75-66

Game Highlights here: NU-UP Round 1 Season 74

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