As Kobe Paras shared his recent experience in the Kuala Lumpur Southeast Asian Games, where he won the gold medal with the Gilas cadet team, the athletic wingman’s father, PBA legend Benjie Paras was beaming on the side, proud of what his son has accomplished at such a young age.
Incidentally, 2017 marked the 30th year anniversary of the Philippines men’s team’s gold medal-winning feat in the SEA Games, then held in Jakarta, Indonesia in 1987 with Benjie part of that squad.
“Masaya sobra kasi it’s a good achievement for the Paras clan. Thirty years ago I was also 19 that time when I won the gold (in the SEA Games),” the elder Paras told FOX Sports during Thursday’s victory luncheon tendered by Chooks-to-Go to the Gilas cadets team at the Marco Polo Hotel in Ortigas, Pasig.
Kobe Paras provided the energy, the athleticism and the highlight-reel dunks during the national squad’s 5-game sweep of the SEA Games men’s basketball for the country’s 17th gold medal.
For the 48-year-old Paras, the experience his son had playing for Gilas in the William Jones Cup as well as the SEA Games will be a confidence-booster once he returns to the US to try to carve a name for himself at his new school Cal State Northridge, following a rather forgettable stint with Creighton this past season.
Of course, Paras will have to serve residency for this year, though Benjie is also hopeful that his new school, handled by former NBA player Reggie Theus, will give him a chance to keep playing for Gilas if the need arises.
“Hopefully payagan pa siya ulit but again, depende yan sa gising nila kung nasa mood sila,” Paras said, referring to Cal State.
As for Kobe, who left for the US Thursday, working with his new college team provides a new challenge for him as he starts his new athletic career.
“Once I go to the US, it’s strictly business lang. It’s college, not like lalaban ako sa bayan because I’m fighting for myself and my future,” he shared.
But Kobe also can’t help but look back at the past months that saw him play for Gilas where he learned a lot from veteran cadet players Bobby Ray Parks, Kiefer Ravena just to name a few.
“It’s been a pretty big blessing just because there’s not so many 19-year-old kids who can go through what I go through,” he said.
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