Kobe Paras back in town armed with US lessons

Business World - - WORLDSPORTS - By Michael An­gelo S. Murillo Se­nior Re­porter

WHILE his United States col­le­giate jour­ney proved to be a whirl­wind one that saw him not be­ing able to show­case what he can do as a player as hoped, Gi­las Pilip­inas cadet mem­ber Kobe Paras made his re­turn to the coun­try as a “bet­ter” ver­sion of him­self armed with the many lessons he learned while away.

Off his de­ci­sion not to con­tinue his col­le­giate ca­reer and in­stead go pro­fes­sional, Mr. Paras met mem­bers of the lo­cal me­dia upon his re­turn from the US on Mon­day to talk about his de­ci­sion and plans mov­ing for­ward.

Mr. Paras, ac­com­pa­nied by fa­ther Ben­jie, Chooks-to- Go head Ron­ald Mas­car­iñas and fel­low Gi­las cadet Ricci Rivero, shared that his de­ci­sion not to con­tinue his US col­le­giate jour­ney was a re­sult of the fir­ing of Cal­i­for­nia State Uni­ver­sity Northridge ( CSUN) coach Reg­gie Theus, who the 20-year-old Paras said he had a good re­la­tion­ship with and some­one he was re­ally look­ing for­ward to play­ing for.

Prior to that he spent some time at Creighton Uni­ver­sity but did not get much play­ing time, av­er­ag­ing just 4.7 min­utes per game with the Blue­jays.

Hav­ing felt that he may have to start all over again with Mr. Theus no longer the CSUN coach, Mr. Paras and his ad­vis­ers agreed on the de­ci­sion to take a whole new di­rec­tion as far as his ca­reer goes.

But de­spite not be­ing able to fin­ish what he set out to do in the States, Mr. Paras said the ex­pe­ri­ence he had there was not com­pletely for naught, high­light­ing he only be­came a bet­ter per­son and a player be­cause of it.

“It was an eye- open­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, to be hon­est. It was one of the great­est de­ci­sions I made in my life, to leave the Philip­pines and go to the US. The US has all the tools to cre­ate a good player. When I was there in the US, I got trained like I never got trained be­fore. When I was here I was skinny, I went to the US and bulked up and I could con­trol my diet. While I was here I played the 5 po­si­tion but there I was able to play 2 and 3 and I was com­fort­able with it. My ex­pe­ri­ence there made me ma­ture a lot as a player,” said Mr. Paras dur­ing the home­com­ing press con­fer­ence hosted for him by Gi­las sup­porter Chooks- to- Go.

In a later in­ter­view with Busi­nessWorld, Mr. Paras went on to share that if some­one from the Philip­pines, given a good op­por­tu­nity to train and de­velop his bas­ket­ball skills in the States, he would sug­gest for that per­son to take it.

“I would sug­gest to ev­ery Filipino kid if a good op­por­tu­nity is there to go to the States and train, seize it. There are a lot of things there that are not here. Not just the gyms and the tools but also the play­ers. You are up against play­ers who are taller, big­ger and faster than you. I ex­pe­ri­enced it. I re­ally learned a lot,” said the for­mer La Salle Green­hills stand­out who fin­ished his high school stud­ies in Cathe­dral High School in Los An­ge­les.

And the learn­ings were not only con­fined to bas­ket­ball, Mr. Paras un­der­scored, say­ing he also got to learn much about him­self.

“As a per­son, I learned how to deal with ad­ver­si­ties, among oth­ers, be it in life or bas­ket­ball. I left for the States when I was 15 years old to fin­ish high school and it was a learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence as I made the ad­just­ments. Now I can say I have more con­fi­dence to deal with what­ever comes in my life,” he said.

Now back in the coun­try, Mr. Paras said he will fo­cus on his du­ties with the Gi­las cadet and that he is ex­cited to rep­re­sent the coun­try in what­ever com­pe­ti­tion the pro­gram wants him to be in.

As to go­ing pro­fes­sional, the high-fly­ing for­ward said he is not lim­it­ing his op­tions to the Philip­pine Bas­ket­ball As­so­ci­a­tion, say­ing “There are a lot of pro leagues out there.”

He also said that while here, he in­tends to pur­sue his other pas­sions like fash­ion and act­ing.

KOBE PARAS, now back in the coun­try, fo­cuses his at­ten­tion to his Gi­las Pilip­inas cadet du­ties.

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