COACH Eric Altamirano was left amazed by Kobe Paras’ major transformation during the first practice of the national team bound for the Fiba 3x3 World Cup.
Altamirano pointed out the 19-year-old Paras’ growth and improvement with his shooting, a boost for the national team that sees action in the June 17 to 21 tournament in Nantes, France.
"Laki ng improvement niya," said the amiable mentor of the 6-foot-6 200 lb Paras, who had seen action twice for the Philippine Under-18 3x3 team.
"He's matured a lot in terms of his body. He improved his outside shot. Alam naman natin na very athletic siya but I think his outside shooting has really helped his game."
To surpass its ninth-place finish last year, the Philippines will have to face the likes of European champions Slovenia and Romania in the group stage.
Altamirano is confident the high-flying son of PBA great Benjie Paras can hold his own against stronger and bigger foes especially after one year with Creighton in the NCAA’s Big East Conference.
"Kobe's in shape. He's bigger. He's still young and will be competing against men. But since he's exposed sa States he's used to playing against bigger opponents," he said of Paras, who will now play for the Cal State Northridge.
Altamirano also noted Paras’ skills complements Jeron Teng and Kiefer Ravena’s for the five-day tournament.
"It's going to be a good combination. Kanina parang nakita ko they work well with each other. They have their own strengths that they can use for 3-on-3," said Altamirano, whose team is still looking for a replacement for Raymar Jose.