JULY 12-19, 2012
BIBLE STUDY SECRET WEAPON
Bulldogs areready to bite
By Randolph B. Leongson
HERE could not have been a more perfect timefor National University to host the UAAP.
has ever had, the NU Bull-dogs looked poise to shedtheir cellar-dweller tagand perhaps even takethe crown in thecenterpiece men’sbasketball wars toend the school’s58-year titledrought.TheBulldogslasttastedtheUAAPmen’s basketball championshipin 1954 and has struggled toput together a winning programdespite being home to suchprized finds as two-time PBA MVP Danny Ildefonso andLordy Tugade.But a great triumph just be-fore the UAAP season might bea great sign of things to comefor the boys from Jhocson St. After a sensational campaignin the Filoil Flying V PreseasonHanes Cup, where they won thetitle, the Bulldogs, with multi-ti-tled coach Eric AltamiranoIn his second year at thehelm and superstar Bobby Ray Parks leading the charge againfor the boys in blue and gold,are not just out for a shortchampionship fling but a long-term winning attitude.“We’re trying to create a win-ning culture,” said season ’74MVP Parks, “It’s a chance for usto make history against themore prominent teams, eventhough we only come from asmall school.”Parks sees a vast improve-ment in the team from last year, with the eight rookies then fi-nally forming a palpable chem-istry with the rest of the team.Even Cameroonian playersHenri Betayene, who will suitup for his first year in a Bulldog jersey, and Emmanuel Mbe, who will play his last season forNU, have been showing whatthey are made off, boostingtheir confidence for this year’scampaign.“Jean (Mbe) was fouling a lotlast year, but you can see thathe is definitely improving in hisgame, both offensively and de-fensively,” said senior AjeetSingh.Mbe, who was named Filoil’sBest Defensive Player, sees theimprovement brought by thediscipline inculcated by coach Altamirano to the team. The 20- year-old center has also adjust-ed well in the country, even say-ing, “I feel like I am a Filipino!” Another revelation for theBulldogs is the guard combo of playmaker Gelo Alolino andshooting guard Mark de Guz-man. Alolino paced the Bull-dogs with his crisp passes whilede Guzman, a transferee fromthe College of St. Benilde,torched foes with his sweettouch from rainbow country that helped NU in an undefeat-ed 11-game run in the Filoiltourney.Both of them note the pro-gram Altamirano prepared forthe team has really helped thema lot, on and off the court.“Everybody has the right to
Parks eyes winning culture
UAAP Season 74 Most ValuablePlayer. Gold medalist in the 2011SEAG as a part of the nationalteam. 2012 Filoil Flying V Presea-son MVP. What more can the sen-sational Bobby Ray Parks Jr. hopeto accomplish this season?“To create a winning culturein our small school,” he said.This might be the Parks’ own way of humbly saying “the UAAPchampionship.” After all, the 6-foot-4 small forward has been theleader of the pack for this season’shosts National U, a university which is experiencing a 58-yeartitle drought and is on a quest toremove the tag of “the whippingboys of the UAAP”. A tenacious player on bothends of the court, Parks hasbeen a polarizing figure for NU,an attitude which makes ob-servers think that the 19-year-old as “mayabang.”But off-court, the son of PBA legend Bobby Parks is a soft-spoken vocal leader for the up-and-coming Bulldogs, a role hehas embraced.“I am motivated to get theteam better for the UAAP andgive our best in every game,” hesaid. Averaging 18.5 points, 5.5rebounds, 4 assists and 1.2steals in the preseason tourney, which saw him crowned as theMVP, Parks has made NU a title-contender for the upcomingUAAP season. “I know that I canscore, but we’re playing here asa team.” A religious man in his ownright, the boy who “came fromMemphis to Manila” has depict-ed his religiosity in his tattoos.He draws his inspiration in ev-ery game from his dad, whotaught him how to handle andshoot the ball at the tender ageof four, and his girlfriend, whopassed away last January.“Ray-Ray”, as his closefriends calls him, has often gota lot of comparisons to NBA players with his monster playson the court, and has not yetruled out the possibility of being the first Filipino toplay in the NBA. “It’s still adream,” Parks said.“It’s time for NU tochange its perspective.We’re a new team,” Parkssaid. “It’s a chance for usto motivate each otherand to play for schoolpride. It’s a challenge toface the ‘big’ schools, but we’re accepting that chal-lenge.”
Randolph B. Leongson
Fielding what might be the strongest line-up the school
DOUBLETROUBLE: Mbe(left) and Parks.
AUGUST DELA CRUZ
SCHOOL PRIDE: Parks
READY TO BITE /page 8