THE opportunity to explore how far he can go in his basketball career was just a prospect too tantalizing for Kobe Paras to pass up.
And University of the Philippines won't stand in the way of those dreams as it backs the 6-foot-6 high-flyer every step of the way wherever his next foray may be.
Fighting Maroons coach Bo Perasol told Spin.ph that Paras has confided in him over the past few weeks before making the decision to give an overseas stint another try.
"In the past few weeks, Kobe and I had discussed lengthily about his various opportunities amidst this lingering pandemic situation," said the soft-spoken mentor.
"Kobe is too talented to be kept waiting for things to come. I believe it is his obligation to pursue these and showcase his God-given talent. Our program was blessed to have been a part of his journey."
The decison signalled the end of Paras' short but sweet stay at Diliman.
The son of two-time PBA MVP Benjie Paras formally linked up on Tuesday with East West Private, the same handlers who take care of the career of Kai Sotto.
The move is seen to lead to a redemption tour for Paras, who will take another shot at making it big in the United States after his largely uneventful stops in UCLA, Creighton, and Cal State Northridge.
Paras came home and committed to UP in 2018, undergoing a residency year before he finally wore the maroon-and-whites.
He averaged 16.1 points on 34-percent shooting, along with 5.1 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.2 blocks, and 1.1 steals this past UAAP Season 83, earning a spot in the Mythical Team and leading the Fighting Maroons to a third-place finish.
Perasol added the 23-year-old was actually intent on playing one more year for UP, but the uncertainty of when the UAAP will resume factored in his decision.
"His commitment in helping out our program has gone beyond our initial agreement of him playing for us for one or two seasons, depending on what will come his way after each season," said the Maroons coach.
"He was unwavering in his commitment to play for another season last year. In fact, he was still committed for another season, if we play it this year," said Perasol.
"However, we are both unsure and not so hopeful that college basketball will resume this year. It is in this backdrop that we agreed that he has to pursue his other opportunities."
Paras left the country last week and now gets a new lease on life to reintroduce himself to scouts and coaches in the United States, with a number of overseas clubs reportedly interested in securing his services.
He last played for Gilas Pilipinas as the national team swept Thailand in the second window of the 2021 Fiba Asia Cup qualifiers in Manama, Bahrain last November.