KOBE Paras' return to the country to play for the Gilas Pilipinas cadets was seen as a big boost to the national team, but head coach Chot Reyes pointed out that the homecoming is bound to benefit the young cager more.
The call to play for flag and country is a huge privelege given to a few players. And with a rocky basketball stint so far in the US, the 20-year-old Paras gets all the court action he needs to keep his promising career moving forward in the Gilas program.
"On the contrary, he should look forward to coming home and finally playing. We’re fine if he’s not here, the program is still going to continue," said Reyes.
And he's not exactly wrong.
Reyes made a bold statement a few days ago about local players' development in the US NCAA - and Paras could be the perfect example for it.
As much as the level of play in the US is higher, this is all fool's gold when an athlete isn't getting competitive minutes.
This is the case for the 6-foot-6 son of PBA legend Benjie Paras now as he'll get a chance to play a lot - starting in the Filoil Premier Cup when the Gilas 23 for 2023 pool gets their feet wet in the annual summer cagefest.
"He should look forward to playing because I made that statement that there’s no Filipino player who ever went to the US NCAA and came back a better player because the operative word was playing," Reyes explained.
"If you go to the US and sit, you’re not going to get better."
At the end of the day, this moves favors the high-flying wingman more than the program.
"I hope Kobe should be looking forward to coming home and playing, getting a chance to finally actually playing on the court. He should be looking forward to that," said Reyes.