RISING star Kobe Paras heads the cast of amateur stars and collegiate standouts named to the provisional lineup for the basketball team bound for the Southeast Asian Games in Singapore next year.
Paras, currently making waves for Cathedral High School in Los Angeles, is part of the more than 20 players on the provisional lineup submitted by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) to the Philippine Olympic Committee, according to an official who asked not to be named.
UAAP Season 77 MVP Kiefer Ravena of Ateneo is also part of the list along with Jeron Teng and Arnold Van Opstal of La Salle, Mac Belo of Far Eastern University, and Troy Rosario of National University.
From the NCAA, among those picked were University of Perpetual Help’s Earl Scottie Thompson and Baser Amer and Art Dela Cruz of multi-titled San Beda.
Also included are Marcus Douthit, the country’s naturalized player who played for the Philippines in the 17th Asian Games in Incheon, Korea; former UAAP MVP Bobby Ray Parks; and Garvo Lanete, the lone holdover from the Gilas Pilipinas cadet squad.
Lanete, Ravena, Belo, Douthit and Parks were part of the Sinag Pilipinas team that won the gold medal two years ago in Myanmar.
The initial list, however, is not final and is for accreditation purposes only, as it will be submitted to SEA Games organizers and used to determine the possible number of athletes to be sent by the Philippines.
However, the list already makes up the likely members of the next SEA Games-bound team following the departure of former Sinag standouts like Kevin Alas, Jake Pascual, Ronald Pascual, and Matt Ganuelas-Rosser for the pro ranks.
The final lineup will be determined by a SBP search committee in charge of naming the coach and players of the national teams that do not involve PBA players. The UAAP, NCAA and D-League are among the leagues represented in the search panel.
Paras, 17, has donned the national colors before, winning the slam dunk competition in the Fiba 3x3 Under-18 World Championship last year.
The son of former PBA rookie MVP Benjie has also played for the youth team during last year’s Fiba-Asia Under-18 Championship in Doha, Qatar.
However, Paras' availability for the SEA Games is still in question since the biennial event will be held from June 5 to 16, which is close to the end of the school year in the US.