He might have gone through the eye of the needle to get to play in the UAAP. But in only three months' time, Bobby Ray Parks, Jr. has proven that he is more than up to the hype.
The six-foot-four guard/forward bagged the Most Valuable Player plum in Season 74 of the UAAP men's basketball tournament, beating out other highly-touted names, according to statistics provided by host Ateneo.
After a second round surge that had his National University Bulldogs winning four games, Parks tallied 66.6429 points on an average of 20.0 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.1 blocks and 1.1 steals in 14 matches for the Sampaloc-based squad.
First MVP not in Final Four
This makes the rookie the first ever NU cager to win the award while also getting the distinction of being the first MVP whose team did not enter the Final Four.
The son of seven-time PBA Best Import Bobby Parks edged out first-round pacesetter Greg Slaughter, who was able to churn out 63.3571 statistical points (SP) via per game norms of 13.3 points, 9.4 rebounds and 1.9 blocks as his Blue Eagles crew romped its way to 13 victories.
Meanwhile, Ateneo compatriot and freshman Kiefer Ravena, who placed sixth in the MVP race after posting 56.3571 SPs, walked away with the Rookie of the Year award.
UST's Abdul not eligible
Cameroonian giant Karim Abdul of the University of Santo Tomas got his bearing going in the latter half of the season to finish third with 60.3846 SPs but is not eligible for any award after getting suspended for incurring two unsportsmanlike fouls in the tourney.
Acrobatic Adamson University guard Alex Nuyles wound up with 59.0000 SPs and ended up fourth even as Far Eastern University's reed-thin center Aldrech Ramos paced the Tamaraws with 57.5714 SPs.
With Rookie of the Year Ravena in sixth, Season 73 MVP Ryan Roose Garcia was seventh this time with 55.3571 SPs.
Another Eagle, Nico Salva garnered 53.7143 SPs to go eighth while Most Improved Player candidates Jeric Fortuna (50.5000 SPs) of the Growling Tigers and the Soaring Falcons' Eric Camson (50.2857) were ninth and tenth, respectively.