UNIVERSITY of the Philippines star forward Kobe Paras has what it takes to star for Gilas Pilipinas, according to Fighting Maroons coach Bo Perasol.
Perasol is also convinced Paras’ stint, whether he makes it to the final 12 or not, will only make him a better player.
“Kobe (Paras) is a worthy leader of that team. He has the experience, the talent, and the skills to lead the way for the other guys,” Perasol told Malaya-Business Insight.
“Him playing in that level of competition will make him a better player,” he added.
The 6-foot-6 Paras is a member of the 15-man Gilas pool that left last Sunday for the November window of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers to be played on a bubble in Manama, Bahrain.
The high-flying Paras, son of pro league great Benjie, played for La Salle Greenhills in high school and endured a tumultuous collegiate career after chasing his NBA dream.
He committed to the UCLA Bruins in 2015 but after a year, he entered Creighton University where he played sparingly in 15 games for the Bluejays.
In 2017, Paras was set to join Cal State Northridge and undergo a one-year residency but after the departure of head coach Reggie Theus, Paras decided to leave and return to the Philippines.
Paras averaged 16.1 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.1 steals and 2.5 blocks for UP in the last UAAP cage wars where he was named to the Mythical team.
Big man Isaac Go, guard Rey Suerte, and twins Matt and Mike Nieto, all Gilas special draftees last year, and wingman Jaydee Tungcab spearhead the all-amateur squad.
Completing the team are Paras’ Maroons teammates Juan and Javi Gomez de Liaño, Dave Ildefonso, Will Navarro, and Dwight Ramos of Ateneo, La Salle slotman Justine Baltazar, reigning NCAA MVP Calvin Oftana and San Beda University teammate Kemark Cariño.
Despite nursing a fractured right shoulder injury, wingman Allyn Bulanadi still joined Gilas in Bahrain.(M. Jugado, Malaya)