Kobe goes to U.P: A new Paras for the state university’s basketball team

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Future Fighting Maroon Kobe Paras playing for Gilas Pilipinas in the FIBA 3x3 World Cup in 2017. (FIBA file photo)

Rising star Kobe Paras has announced that he will be joining the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroon.

The son of UP’s legendary basketball product Benjie Paras sets his sights on a stint with the state university after a fledgling collegiate career in the United States that was cut short.

Turning Maroon

Paras and various UP social media accounts made the announcement on Wednesday morning.

Paras in initial statements after the announcement spoke about wanting to help improve the state university’s basketball program.

The 21-year-old guard is the son of PBA legend Benjie Paras, a two-time Most Valuable Player who also holds the record for being the first player to win the MVP plum in his rookie year, with ex-wife Jackie Foster.

Paras starred for Cathedral High School in Los Angeles and committed to the University of California Bruins in the US NCAA—the same Division I program that produced the likes of Kareem Abdul Jabar, Bill Walton, Reggie Miller, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Love to name a few.

Following his graduation, Paras however was unable to meet the academic requirements set by UCLA and instead enrolled in Creighton University. He was expected to transfer to Cal State Northridge but changed plans.

He has also been called on to suit up for the Gilas Pilipinas program. Paras was part of the Philippines’ delegation FIBA 3×3 World Cup in 2017.

Basketball analysts are excited for what could be the most star-studded roster the once-struggling UP basketball program has ever put together.

Among UP’s recent blue-chip acquisitions are NCAA Season 93 Juniors MVP Will Gozum, UAAP Season 80 Mythical Five member Ricci Rivero, a transferee from De La Salle University and Nigerian powerhouse Bright Akhuetie, who transferred last year from the University of Perpetual Health of the local NCAA.

The transferees after serving their one-year residency will be joining a lineup that presently consists of young talent such as UAAP Season 80 Rookie of the Year Juan Gomez de Liano, his older brother Javi, guard Jun Manzo and former Mythical Five awardee Paul Desiderio.

The Fighting Maroons have not won basketball gold since 1986, when the older Paras along with future legends Ronnie Magsanoc and Eric Altamirano led the Maroons to title.