Like father Benjie, rising teen star Kobe Paras brings Philippines basketball glory

Kobe Paras (#6 in Pilipinas jersey) was part of the gold medal-winning team. FIBA Asia photo

Kobe Paras (#6 in Pilipinas jersey) was part of the gold medal-winning team. FIBA Asia photo

Benjie Paras knows the excitement of carrying Philippine colors and winning a championship while representing the country in the international basketball scene.

That’s why the PBA’s “Tower of Power” wasn’t surprised when he was the first person his son Kobe called after helping the Philippine team win the FIBA Asia 3×3 Under-18 Championship last week.

“I experienced that before when we won the gold in the Southeast Asian games in Jakarta in 1987. It makes you feel proud being a Filipino and being a member of the champion team in an international tournament,” said Paras.

“He updated me right away when they won. Up to now, hindi sila makapaniwala beating China.”

Kobe, who plays guard for La Salle Greenhills, told his father about facing a much bigger Chinese squad.

“They were up against three players standing 6-foot-10, plus a 6-foot-1 point guard, so doon pa lang malaking disadvantage na on our part. That’s why the victory came sweeter. Bihira pa natin talunin sa basketball ang China,” said the elder Paras.

Kobe teamed up with another second-generation player Thirdy Ravena as well as Arvin Tolentino and Prince Rivero to bag the title.

The two-time PBA Most Valuable Player said winning at an early age would serve his Kobe well.

“Dati kasi, kami mga around 18 years old kami nakakapag-start representing the country. Now, sa age group, you can represent it as early as 15 and this is a good start for Kobe,” said Benjie.

“I told him to value this success and learn from this. He also has to value the school where he plays for dahil ito yung nagpapa-aral sa kanya.”

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