WORLD 3x3 slam dunk champion Kobe Paras admits being saddened upon learning that he will not be included in the Gilas under-17 team that will compete in the Fiba-World under-17 championships in Dubai next year.
“Nalungkot po talaga ako nung nadinig ko na ganun nga, hindi daw ako kasali,” said the Under-16 cage sensation from La Salle-Greenhills. “Kaso wala naman po akong magagawa.”
However, Paras said he understands the decision of the coaching staff led by Jamike Jarin to stick with the team that punched a ticket to Dubai by finishing second in the Fiba Asia Under-16 championship in Tehran, Iran.
[For full story, see Kobe Paras set to miss out as PH Under-16 coach to stick it out with same team]
“Sila naman po ang naghirap, so okay lang po na sila na rin dun sa world championship. Alam kong hindi rin ako deserving kasi hindi ako naghirap,” he said in an interview with Spin.ph.
“Sayang nga po nagsabay kasi. Yung 3-on-3 po kasi world din yun. Kaya dun ako nagpunta. Maganda naman din po naging resulta kasi kahit slam dunk, may nakuha tayo,” said the youngest of the two playing sons of PBA cage great Benjie Paras.
His looming non-inclusion in the Gilas youth team, according to the 16-year-old, will only serve to motivate him to improve his game.
“Siguro po ipagpapatuloy ko na lang muna training ko tapos aasa ako na next year sa Under-18 makabalik ako sa team,” said Paras, who had to leave the team shortly before the Fiba-World 3x3 took off in Jakarta, Indonesia last week.
But the young cager said he’ll never harbor any ill-feelings toward the coaching staff led by Jarin, who he said is only after the welfare of the whole team.
“Hindi po sasama loob ko. Nalungkot lang po ako. Pero ngayon tanggap ko na,” he said.
Asked if he can be a good addition to the team that will play against the best in the world, the celebrated dunk champion replied: “Kung maisasama po siyempre, ibibigay ko ang lahat.”
“Pero kailangan po talaga ng team big man. Nakita yun sa naging laban natin sa Iran. Sayang hindi rin kasi gaanong big man ang laro ko,” he added.
Meanwhile, Jarin reiterated his earlier stand to Spin.ph about the possible non-inclusion of Paras.
Speaking before the weekly Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum, the 13-year Ateneo Blue Eaglets mentor remained firm in his decision which he broached after the team fought gallantly only to fall short against powerhouse China in the Fiba-Asia final.
“Million dollar question, will I still bring the same old team or will I reinforce it? After the game against Chinese Taipei, I already told the team that I will bring the same team to the World Championships,” Jarin said.
“Kasi sila ang naghirap eh. Sila `yung nagsakripisyo. Lahat mga bata ang mga ito, hindi ito katulad nung ibang teams na mayroon pa next year,” he added.
Here's a video of the interview with Jarin: