Kobe Paras heeds Gilas call, clears up decision to ‘go pro’
MANILA, Philippines — Kobe Paras is back in town. And while his stay at home is indefinite, his priorities are not.
Paras, who bared that he intends to test the pro waters last March, was given a homecoming by Bounty Sports on Monday noon at Crown Plaza in Ortigas. During the gathering, he reiterated that he has set his focus on the national team, Gilas Pilipinas, where he was picked as part of the 23 for the 2023 World Cup pool.
“When I say ‘Go Pro,’ it doesn’t mean NBA. There’s a lot of people that kept saying NBA. It is a professional league but there’s a lot of pro teams out there,” he said. “When I announced to go pro, it was because of my coach — Coach Reggie — he got fired. Since that happened, I had to make a decision to myself. I’m glad I’m here now, when I said I was going to go pro.”
“I just made the decision that I want to go pro, it’s because where I can live a life where I’m getting the things that I deserve,” the young Paras, who was accompanied by dad and local hoops legend Benjie.
“Everyone started [bringing up] the NBA dream,” the amateur cager said. “It’s a professional league. The NBA is a professional league but there’s a lot of leagues out there, too, where I can go.”
And does that mean the PBA?
“PBA is a professional league, that’s all I’m gonna say. When I said I was going pro, again, there’s a lot of pro leagues out there,” he added.
Currently in the cadets’ pipeline is the FilOil perseason league where the “23 for ’23” crew is expected to see action. There, Paras reunites with La Salle Greenhills teammate Ricci Rivero, who just like him is currently seeking other avenues to play after his departure from De La Salle University.
“Noong time na naging teammates kami, sobrang saya ko kasi nakita niyo, sobrang taas ding tumalon nito. At least this time, our chance to play together,” the young Paras said of his looming on-court partnership with Rivero.
“I’m so happy that Kobe came back to play with us,” the younger high-flying talent said. “Sobrang laking factor niya sa Gilas cadets. Thankful din ako sa Chooks-to-Go family for making this happen.”
Asked what spectators should expect from him in his return to competitive basketball, Paras had a simple answer.
“To bring energy to the team,” he offered. “I have always loved to play with young guys. We can run a lot and we don’t get tired.”
“I’m excited for the fast-paced game. You can expect more transition and the fast-paced game,” he teased.
The younger iteration of the Gilas crew topbills the opening of the FilOil hostilities. They take on reigning UAAP titlists Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagle on April 21.