By Michael Angelo S. Murillo, Senior Reporter
KOBE Paras has ended his journey with the University of the Philippines (UP) men’s basketball team and signed to train in the United States under the guidance of East West Private (EWP).
Ohio-based agency EWP announced Mr. Paras’ joining its fold in an Instagram post on Tuesday where it shared its commitment to help the player, who left the country last week, in his bid to make another go at establishing an international basketball career.
“Let tomorrow be your second chance to prove that you are better than today and yesterday. Welcome to the family, Kobe,” EWP’s post read.
Mr. Paras joins fellow Filipino Kai Sotto with EWP.
Son of Philippine Basketball Association legend Benjie, and younger brother of incoming rookie Andre, Mr. Paras already tried his luck in the US in the past.
In 2013, he flew to the States to finish his secondary school. He was then recruited by University of California, Los Angeles but later transferred to Creighton University.
Mr. Paras only spent a year in Creighton before transferring to Cal State Northridge where he eventually opted out after its coach Reggie Theus was fired.
In 2018, he returned to play for the Philippines, first playing for the Gilas Cadet squad then for UP.
In his one year with the Fighting Maroons, Mr. Paras averaged 16.1 points, 5.1 rebounds, 2.5 blocks, 1.8 assists, and 1.1 steals per game while helping UP to a Final Four finish in Season 82 of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP).
He last played with the Gilas Pilipinas team of cadets in the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers second window in Manama, Bahrain, last November.
SUPPORTS THE DECISION
While they are sad to see Mr. Paras go, UP men’s basketball coach Bo Perasol said they completely support the decision, which was thoroughly discussed with the team.
“In the past few weeks, Kobe and I had discussed lengthily about his various opportunities amidst this lingering pandemic situation. His commitment in helping out our program has gone beyond our initial agreement of him playing for us for one or two seasons depending on what will come his way after each season. He was unwavering in his commitment to play for another season last year. In fact, he was still committed for another season, if we play it this year. However, we are both unsure and not so hopeful that college basketball will resume this year,” Mr. Perasol shared in a text message.
“It is in this backdrop that we agreed that he has to pursue his other opportunities. Kobe is too talented to be kept waiting for things to come. I believe it is his obligation to pursue these and showcase his God-given talent. Our program was blessed to have been a part of his journey,” he added.
The UP coach said they will now move on and work with the pieces they have once collegiate training, and then competition, are permitted.
“We will miss Kobe’s contribution to the team. Time for others to step up.”