BENJIE Paras believes his son Kobe’s move to play for Middlebrooks Academy will actually augurs well for his basketball career.
The younger Paras, a homegrown Filipino NBA aspirant who played his junior year at Los Angeles Cathedral High School, will not suit up for the Phantoms anymore owing to a difference in academic calendars between the US and Philippines.
Kobe, who played two years in the NCAA for La Salle Greenhills before moving to LA, has already used up seven semesters of eligibility, leaving him with only one semester left.
That prompted the move to Middlebrooks, a selection prep team handled by Kobe’s Phantoms coach William Middlebrooks.
But instead of the development standing as a detriment, it will actually benefit the 17-year-old Paras’ progress as he prepares for college where he has already committed to University of California, Los Angles.
“Mas maganda ‘yun kasi karamihan naman ng mga players ‘dun, bago mag-college, sa prep team naglalaro,” the elder Paras told Spin.ph.
“Medyo mas mataas yung competition ‘dun,” the former PBA Rookie-MVP added. “Makakalaban mo ibang liga na tsaka mas malalakas yung makakalaban.”
The 6-foot-6 Kobe, who averaged 15 points for the Phantoms last season, would’ve still had one full year to play for LA Cathedral had he not repeated third-year high school. He came to LA in the middle of third-year, but made a repeat owing to lack of academic credentials.
The athletic forward will still attend his senior academic year at LA Cathedral and is expected to graduate this March.
“Natapos naman niya yung mga requirements, so parang eksakto lang siya,” Benjie explained. “Kung baga ito na yung year na graduate na siya pero nasa high school pa - parang ganun ang pagkakaintindi ko. Yung iba kasing alam ko dyan, na kahit gumraduate na ng fourth year na hindi pa ready ng college, nilalagay muna sa prep team.”
“Yung kanya (Kobe) naman, matatapos sana siya ng mga kailangan niya this midyear next year, so parang ganun din," he added.
Paras said the move will not affect his upcoming stint with the UCLA Bruins.
“Wala naman (conflict),” Paras said. “Alam naman ng mga (UCLA) coaches yun. Alam naman yung mga sinasalihan nilang liga.”