During his playing days, Benjie Paras was one of the most dominant forces in Philippine basketball.
The only rookie to win Most Valuable Player honors in the PBA, however, turns into a gushing fan when talk turns to his teenage kids’ basketball success.
“I didn’t have a chance to play alongside anyone from my family because sa akin nagsimula ang basketball,” Paras told InterAKTV in a telephone interview. “That’s why I’m very proud to have two sons who are playing for their respective schools and making their own mark.”
The 17-year-old Andre stands 6-foot-5 and was a highly-recruited high school prospect out of La Salle Greenhills before deciding to join the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons, Benjie’s alma mater.
“He’s more of a post-up player who can also shoot from the outside, as far as the three-point area,” said Benjie. “May similarities kami ng laro pati na rin yung how he defends. Yung bagay na yun hindi yun basta naituturo and mayroon na kaagad siya noon at this early age.”
His younger son Kobe, 15, meanwhile, plays in the perimeter. A La Salle Greenhills player, he recently helped the Philippine team win the FIBA Asia Under-18 3×3 championship.
“Mukhang doon rin talaga ang punta niya. Kobe is more athletic and unlike Andre, he plays more the two or three position and loves to attack the basket,” said Benjie.
“Mas masipag si Andre, but more athletic naman si Kobe. What I like about them is their basketball IQ. They know when to pass and they know when to shoot or attack.”
This early, Benjie says Andre is looking at a career beyond basketball.
“He chose to go to UP dahil gusto niyang mag-aral ng film and he says he wants to have a profession after his basketball career is over,” said Benjie of Andre.
“For me, it’s a win-win situation. One, because when you go to UP, you will always be on the priority list once you seek a career. Two, he’s going to film, the same profession where I am involved at now and mabibigyan ko siya ng guidance.”
Benjie knows there would be lots of pressure on his kids given his own success as a player. He won two MVP awards and was named one of the PBA’s 25 Greatest Players during the league’s silver anniversary in 2000.
But the elder Paras knows his sons will make their own marks in basketball.
“I’m sure, mayroon rin silang gustong i-prove that’s why they’re also working hard to make themselves better basketball players,” he said.