Kobe Paras considers Gilas stint an opportunity to grow as a player

Kobe Paras knows athleticism and youth alone won’t be enough to help him reach his lofty basketball dream, No wonder, the young wingman is taking his time to learn from the coaches and the players in his current stint with Gilas Pilipinas.

At 19, Paras has made a name for himself as a two-time Slam Dunk champion in the FIBA 3×3 U-18 World Championship. He also won a gold medal in the SEABA U16 and just recently, represented the country in the 2017 FIBA 3×3 World Cup in Nantes, France and was part of a Gilas side that placed fourth in the William Jones Cup in Taipei.

But Paras knows there’s still a lot to learn as far as the game of basketball is concerned.

“I didn’t just learn from the (Gilas) coaches, but I learn from the players as well because some of them play in D-League na and some in the PBA. Some are incoming PBA stars so it’s just great to see their own perspective in the game of basketball in each and every practice,” Paras told FOX Sports in a recent chat.

In his brief stay here as he prepared for the Jones Cup, Paras has been hanging out a lot with former 2-time UAAP MVP Bobby Ray Parks.

The left-handed Parks in a previous interview, said he’s happy to share some of the experiences he’s had playing in the NBA D-League where he averaged 4.6 points, 1.9 rebounds and 0.8 assist with the Texas Legends last year. He also tried out for the Westchester Knicks before being one of the last cuts in November 2016.

Said Paras: “I always ask them what do I need to improve on, what do you think should I do to play? And so honestly, I’m a young kid.  Sinasabi nga nila ako bunso ng gilas so I take advantage of it to the point of where I ask for advice from them.”

The son of PBA legend Benjie said being part of the Gilas squad that will defend the country’s Southeast Asian Games basketball throne is another dream come true.

And for the young Paras, playing and contributing to Gilas’ bid for another SEA Games gold will be his way of duplicating the feat of his father, who did the trick as an amateur player in 1987.

“I just want to do what my dad did.  He won a medal and he represented the country so that’s what I want to do,” said Kobe Paras. “I just want to have fun and be with my teammates.  It’s not an everyday thing that a SEA Games team would be played by Gilas, so I’m just gonna make the most out of it, embrace the experience and memories that I will have.”

After his SEA Games stins, Paras is set to return to the United States to resume his college basketball career with his new school Cal State Northridge under coach and NBA legend Reggie Theus.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @richava

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