By Jerome Lagunzad
As far as Kobe Paras is concerned, there is more to than just donning the country’s tri-colors in international stage.
The vastly-improving son of former PBA great Benjie Paras hopes to serve as a source of hope and inspiration for his beleaguered compatriots – both here and abroad – as he gets another chance to represent the Philippines, this time in the 2017 SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia next month.
“I believe that basketball is one of the sports that can really unite people. So every time I get to represent the country, hindi lang ‘yung team namin ang iniisip ko kundi ‘yung ibang mga kababayan natin,” said the 19-year-old Paras, the youngest player named by national team coach Chot Reyes to the 12-strong Gilas unit in the 29th edition of the biennial multi-sport conclave.
“Kaya gusto kong i-dedicate ‘yung laro ko sa mga sundalo natin na nasa Marawi (City) ngayon pati na rin dun sa iba who are fighting for our freedom.”
Paras further learned how basketball can foster friendship and camaraderie after teamed up with fellow amateur stars Kiefer Ravena, Jeron Teng and PBA veteran JR Quiñahan against some of the world’s finest ballers in the FIBA 3×3 World Cup in Nantes, France barely two weeks ago.
“Naglalaban talaga kami dun on the court pero after ng laro, magkaibigan naman kaming lahat. Kaya sinasabi talaga na basketball unites people,” he shared.
“Dito naman sa atin, basketball is a religion sabi nila. Kung ‘yun ang tingin ng mga tao, why not use it to unite people and make them as one? Kasi maraming nangyayari sa mundo ngayon na hindi naman natin nagugustuhan.”
A first-timer in the SEA Games competition, Kobe is hoping he will do well and make his father Benjie, a former two-time PBA MVP winner, – and the whole Paras family – proud anew.
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