It has been something of a whirlwind, the more recent parts of the lifelong basketball dream of Kobe Paras, son of legendary PBA player Benjie Paras. From the start it was plain to see that he was destined for greatness in the sport, however following his great performance in high school in the US, his prospects for college ball over there seemed riddled with stumbling blocks. Last March Kobe even floated the idea of going pro. But a new development has come up. Kobe Paras will be playing college ball after all, but it will be here in the Philippines.
CNN Philippines reports that the University of the Philippines has just scored a coup with a legacy basketball player on their roster for UAAP Season 82: Kobe Paras. It should be recalled that Kobe’s father Benjie, was part of the Fighting Maroons in college, and now his son is taking up the mantle decades later. This wonderful news was shared to CNN Philippines this Wednesday by Maroons head coach Bo Perasol, who added that Kobe will be ready to play for the team in Season 82. There is hope that he could replicate or one-up his father’s leading UP to the UAAP 1986 men’s title.
In a statement, Kobe laid out his decision to become a college basketball player in the Philippines following frustration back in the States. Returning to the country and choosing UP as his school team of choice was calculated to help in contributing to improving himself both in his chosen field and the sport he loves. “The University of the Philippines is the most respected educational institution in the country,” he said. “The attraction of UP is not just its basketball program, which just gets better each year, but the world-class education it is known for.”
As part of a greater revamp of its roster, the UP Fighting Maroons is taking on some serious manpower for UAAP Season 82. In addition to Kobe Paras, there is also the seriously tall Bright Akhuetie from Nigeria and Ricci Rivero, a teammate of Kobe’s from the Gilas Cadets team, which is training hard to compete in the 2023 FIBA World Cup, of which the Philippines is one of three co-hosts. Coach Perasol is extremely pleased at getting Kobe for his future squad. “Talent is talent,” he remarked. “And we are fortunate to have a talent like Kobe on board.
Having established his basketball credentials back in the States with Cathedral High School in California, Kobe was supposed to go to UCLA for college but withdrew due to not meeting their academic requirements. He briefly played for Creighton University in 2016 then moved to Cal State Northridge in 2017 only to be red-shirted. His joining the UP Fighting Maroons could help the team reach the Final Four – last done in 1997 – and beyond to glory.
Image courtesy of GMA Network News