KOBE Paras is ready to take on the role as leader of the Gilas Pilipinas cadets after gaining experience playing alongside its men’s counterparts during last year’s Southeast Asian Games and the Jones Cup.
The 20-year-old wingman joined the young training pool in practice for the first time on Monday night and didn’t have a hard time adjusting to the system being run by the team under the supervision of assistant coaches Josh Reyes and Jong Uichico.
“At least I can guide the others kasi may mas bata rin dito, I can guide them through the process,” said Paras after sweating it out with the rest of the cadets at the Meralco gym.
He arrived from the US on Monday morning.
“I feel great. Kasi ngayon I can give knowledge to the young ones and I can help them naman kasi mahirap din pag bata,” added the son of cage great Benjie Paras. “I’ve been there so I know what they’re thinking of.”
Paras went through the process last year as the youngest member of the Gilas team that won the gold in the SEA Games held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Before that, he joined the Gilas team in the Jones Cup in Taipei.
Kobe joined the cadets in practice despite not having enough rest since arriving in the country less than 24 hours ago. In the afternoon, he also faced the media following a welcome reception prepared for him by national team backer Chooks To Go.
To all these, Paras had no complaints.
“I’m more mature now about the situation,” said the high-flying cager. “I feel good. When I practice, I try not to think about fatigue or feel anything.”
The cadets are currently undergoing daily training as part of their preparation for the Filoil Flying V Pre-Season tournament which kicks off this Saturday.
Paras admitted the team has long ways to go before achieving chemistry and learning to play together as one.
“It takes time. We have a lot of work to do,” he said.