After months of a stalemate with TNT, Bobby Ray Parks, Jr. has finally been granted release by the Tropang Giga, PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial told ESPN5 Friday.
"TNT has released Bobby Ray Parks," said Marcial through text.
Earlier, it had been reported by Bea Micaller of GMA News Online that TNT "had no objections" to Parks playing in Japan. With this clearance, he has indeed hurdled the first obstacle in signing with a B.League team.
Should he indeed head to Japan, the former UAAP and ABL MVP will be the fifth Filipino to sign a contract with the fledgling Japanese pro league, following San-En NeoPhoenix's Thirdy Ravena and Ibaraki Robots' Javi Gomez de Liaño in Division 1. Juan Gomez de Liaño, meanwhile, will see action in Division 2 with Earth Friends Tokyo Z together with Kemark Carino who is just finalizing his agreement with Aomori Watt's.
Also recently, NLEX guard Kiefer Ravena inked a deal with the Shiga Lakestars, but was unable to get clearance from the PBA which cited his live Uniform Player's Contract with the Road Warriors.
Just a few days ago, Parks hinted at his desire to return to basketball after watching the opening presentation of Game 6 of the 2021 NBA Finals.
"That spike lee short film before the game 6 #NBAFINALS made me wanna get back into hoopin. True, pure, and genuine passion," he tweeted on Wednesday.
That spike lee short film before the game 6 #NBAFINALS made me wanna get back into hoopin. True, pure, and genuine passion.— Ray Parks Jr. (@ray1parks) July 21, 2021
Parks and Vargas as well as TNT team manager Gabby Cui did not respond to requests for comment.
Last March 6, the 6-foot-4 swingman announced that he would not be participating in PBA Season 46 due to "personal reasons." The move came after TNT and Parks could not come to an agreement on a new contract. Since Parks was a restricted free agent, he could not sign elsewhere without TNT's consent.
"It is with a heavy heart that I will have to excuse myself and not partake in this year's PBA season due to personal reasons, in particular, my family," he posted on Instagram.
Not long after, though, PLDT Chairman and Tropang Giga owner Manny V. Pangilinan took exception and called his bluff.
The son of legendary PBA import Bobby Ray Parks, Sr. was a force to be reckoned with inside the Clark "bubble" where he led TNT to the 2020 Philippine Cup Finals.
Before he went down with a calf injury in Game 1 of the championship series against Ginebra, Parks led the league in statistical points with 38.2, which translated to 22.3 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 3.1 assists.
Ultimately, he lost Best Player of the Conference honors to Stanley Pringle as well as the championship to the Gin Kings.
The B.League begins its 2021-22 season on September 30 with a duel between the Ryukyu Golden Kings and Albark Tokyo.