KUALA LUMPUR - Kobe Paras was quick to play down a bench incident late in Gilas Pilipinas' win over Thailand on Sunday night, saying all he wanted to do was bring 'energy' to the team during a crucial stretch of their Southeast Asian Games match.
The 6-foot-6 teenager was so intense at the height of the fourth-quarter battle against the Thais that he was seen shouting in the direction of the court, prompting Gilas head coach Jong Uichico, assistant Jimmy Alapag, and teammate Kevin Ferrer to ask him to settle down.
Paras said he was merely cheering the team on.
"It was just energy. Because nakita ko sa first half, it was like, there was no energy. If you watch the replay, sumisigaw ako ng, 'Para sa Bayan' and after that, we had a good start. It was just energy," said the 18-year-old son of former PBA rookie-MVP Benjie Paras.
True enough, Gilas made the crucial run during that stage to pull off the nerve-wracking 81-74 victory.
Paras, in his second stint with Gilas' seniors team after his debut in the Jones Cup in Taipei, said he understood that the coaching staff wanted to calm him down because the referees told him to do so.
The prodigious teen prospect said he didn't notice the referee.
"(Alapag) was just telling me to relax because I didn't see the referee telling me to sit down. It was my fault, too, because like the play was literally in front of us. I didn't know.
"He understood. He knew the good intention and after that, we made a run. I think that's what we need to do from the start," Paras added.
Paras didn't play much and finished scoreless, but insisted that he's ready to contribute in whatever way he can in Gilas' title defense in Kuala Lumpur.
"I didn't play that much but off the court, I brought energy. That's all that matters right now," he said.
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