KUALA LUMPUR - Kobe Paras played down his contributions to the gold medal of Gilas Pilipinas in the 29th Southeast Asian Games.
Paras had a respectable outing in his first-ever SEA Games outing, scoring 14 points in the gold medal match against Indonesia. Prior to the final, Paras was averaging 10.8 points for Gilas in the four matches.
The 19-year-old cager, though, said winning gold was a team effort.
"It's a great team win. First three games, we went through adversity. It was close. (In the final), we showed who we really were," said Paras.
The high-flyer for Cal State Northridge said the playing for the Philippines this year in international play is very special, even better than representing Philippine basketball in the US NCAA Division 1.
"Nothing will ever compare to playing for the country," said Paras. "Just because it's a country. You are not playing for any club, you are playing for the flag."
The son of PBA legend Benjie also offered the gold medal match to the soldiers in Marawi City, who is fighting insurgency in the area.
"This is not only for our kababayans in Malaysia and in the Philippines, it is also for the soldiers in Marawi. Without their sacrifices for us, we wouldn't be here," said Paras.
After a gold medal in his SEA Games debut, Paras is open to playing for the country again for another chance to extend the country’s reign in Southeast Asian basketball.
"Many people are rooting for us ever since the Jones Cup. I'm just really happy. Words can't explain (how it feels). My dad played in the SEA Games, I won a gold medal. Hopefully, it's not my last," said Paras.
With the 29th SEA Games happening in Malaysia this month, you can book your flight and hotel through Traveloka to support the team in Kuala Lumpur. For your all-in-one solution to your flight and hotel booking to Southeast Asian countries and other destinations, visit Traveloka.com.