KOBE Paras got perhaps the most number of selfie requests during last week's send-off for the Southeast Asian Games delegation, posing for photo-ops even with fellow athletes.
The teenager may be one of the poster boys of the Philippine delegation bound for Kuala Lumpur, but Paras said he doesn't mind doing the dirty work for Gilas Pilipinas in its defense of the basketball gold medal.
"Whatever coach Chot tells me to do, I'll do it," said Paras. "I'm not selfish. I don't want to be the main scorer or anything like that. If he tells me to defend, I'm going to defend the best player. If he tells me to rebound, I'm going to get as much boards as I can."
"If I was talking about a different subject like my college or high school, then that's a different topic. But if its Gilas, I don't care about my performance, I care about my team's performances," Paras added.
Paras is set to take on a new challenge in his young career when he represents the Philippines in the SEA Games, a competition that the country has dominated in basketball.
He is also excited to follow in the footsteps of his father Benjie, who competed in the 1987 SEA Games in Jakarta.
"I feel really happy because it's a different feeling that you represent your country and it's not an everyday thing. From my perspective, my dad represented the country in the SEA Games once so I'm really happy that I can continue the legacy," said Paras.
As for the team's preparation for the SEA Games, Paras is confident their training is enough for the team to do well in the biennial meet as the core has been together since the Jones Cup.
"We prepared since Jones Cup. 'Yung lineup naman namin is one of the best lineups I've been a part of just because lahat ng mga teammates ko, when I was in high school, I look up to them. It's just a great feeling na kasama ko sila ngayon. 'Yung chemistry namin, sobrang kakaiba. Parang magkakapatid kami," said Paras.
Paras also added the team is taking their preparation day-by-day, careful not to look too far ahead.
"I focus day-by-day. I'm not focusing on the games (yet). I'm focusing on the practices," said Paras.