BENJIE Paras looks forward to seeing his son Kobe Paras suit up for the Philippines in the Southeast Asian Games next year, although he admitted he is also worried about the prospects of the lad facing much older foes in the competition.
The younger Paras has been included in the pool of players along with collegiate and amateur standouts for the SEA Games set next June in Singapore although the list is still to be trimmed down to determine the final lineup.
The two-time PBA MVP said his son is excited about the prospect of seeing action in an international competition once again, but this time in the SEA Games where the Philippines has been reigning supreme ever since.
Kobe already had a tour of duty with the youth team, playing for Batang Gilas in the Fiba-Asia Under-18 Championship this year. He also played in the Fiba 3x3 Under-18 World Championship where he caught the attention of the world after winning the Slam Dunk competition.
“Masaya siyempre kasi sa kanya, gustong-gusto niya maglaro sa national team,” Paras told Spin.ph.
“Galing siya doon sa national team. Sinabi ko na nga sa kanya ’yung sa SEA Games and he is very excited,” added the elder Paras, who himself played in the 1987 SEA Games.
The 18-year-old Kobe recently made waves in an invitational meet in California, and was included in the all-tournament squad of the San Fernando Valley Invitational Championship with Cathedral High winning the crown. The highlight of his stint was a 30-point performance in the semifinal match.
As a father, though, Benjie admitted he also naturally has apprehensions about Kobe playing in the SEA Games, not because of his abilities on the court but with his opponents.
Although the Philippines is much talented than its neighboring countries in the sport, Benjie said Kobe, if he makes the cut, would be facing players not in his age bracket but against veteran players in the Southeast Asian region with most of them also playing in the Asean Basketball League.
“Gusto ko rin pag-aralan kung sino ’yung kalaban,” said Benjie. “Kahit anong sabihin mo, he is still young. Kahit sabihin na angat siya sa height, at angat siya sa skills, iba pa rin kapag beterano kalaban mo. Medyo delikado din.”
“Alam ko ’yung competition sa national team. You are playing for your country kaya physical game na ’yan,” Benjie said.
Benjie, however, made it clear that he won’t be stopping Kobe from playing in the SEA Games, as no one, not even his school, will stand in the way of Kobe suiting up for the national team even with the biennial meet scheduled in June, if he gets selected
“They allow players to go back if it is for the national team. In-aadjust nila ’yung schedule nila,” said Benjie.