RUMOR: Kobe Paras is being convinced to forego a plan to turn pro and instead play for the UP Maroons alongside Ricci Rivero.
FACTS: Just moments after news of Ricci Rivero's decision to play for the University of the Philippines spread like wildfire on Twitter, attention, for some reason, shifted to another top prodigy.
His name? Kobe Paras.
Even before the thought of having the smooth-moving, side-stepping Rivero in the UP backcourt could sink in for Maroons diehards, some UP players, both former and current, were already setting their sights on Paras in a playful courtship on the micro-blogging site.
For who would not salivate at the thought of having the high-flying Paras and Rivero in Maroons uniforms, right?
One such exchange had Kobe himself participating in the good-natured banter:
The son of PBA legend Benjie Paras is back in the country after playing high school and college ball in the United States. Recently, he decided to leave US NCAA Division I side Cal State-Northridge and, in a post on Twitter, announced his desire to turn pro.
But since joining the Gilas Pilipinas cadets in the preseason Filoil Cup, a number of coaches, including national coach Chot Reyes, said it may not be an entirely bad idea for Kobe to forego a plan to turn pro and instead return to college.
The 6-foot-6 prodigy, you see, is only 20 years old and has all the time in the world to hone his game and regain his confidence in the college game before making the jump to the pro ranks.
So is a move to UP possible?
If Paras so decides to return to college, UP looks like the most logical choice. His dad was the anchor of the last UP Maroons side to win a UAAP championship back in 1986 and his older brother Andre also played briefly for State U.
Rivero is also a pal, their friendship going back to their days with La Salle Greenhills.
But when SPIN.ph asked around, we gathered that there has been no negotiation between UP and Kobe Paras or his family about the possibility of playing for the Maroons.
“Talagang no talks with Kobe,” said a source, a major backer of the team who refused to be identified. ”Of course, we would certainly like him to play for UP. Pero ni usap, wala pa.”
Sought for comment, UP coach Bo Perasol said he would love to have a player of Paras' caliber in his team. But he, too, denied any knowledge of negotiations between the two camps.
“Basta available, he would be a great addition to our program,” Perasol said.