Following in his father Benjie’s footsteps, Kobe Paras keeps the legacy alive as news broke out Wednesday that the Gilas Cadet has officially joined the University of the Philippines (UP) Men’s Basketball team.
Paras joins former Green Archers big man and former NCAA Juniors Best Defensive Player and SLAM Rising Stars MVP Jboy Gob and UAAP Season 80 Most Improved Player and Gilas brethren Ricci Rivero in the newest batch of recruits to play for State U.
The education and promising basketball program proved to be factors for why these men committed to play for the Maroon and White.
Two months prior, in an interview with The Score, Rivero stated, “Icoconsider mo kasi ‘yung maraming things, ‘yung education and who am I gonna be with nga and after that if magfifit ba ko sa system.” He added, “Siguro new beginning — magiging mahirap pa rin siya. I still have to work super hard.”
Same goes for Paras as he said in a statement, “The University of the Philippines is the most respected educational institution in the country. The attraction of UP is not just its basketball program, which just gets better each year, but the world-class education it is known for.”
In a separate interview, Gob echoed both their sentiments, “The university’s reputation as one of the best schools in the country as well it’s loyal supporters. Also UP is in a position to really contend for the next few years and I want to be able to contribute and be a part of that.”
“I’ve always admired how UP would always put up a good fight and the players are very competitive. The atmosphere is also very exciting because we can learn and improve together. “, he added.
All three were products of La Salle Greenhills and were highly regarded high school standouts. Gob and Rivero took their talents to De La Salle University (DLSU) while Paras played overseas at Creighton University for a year and eventually transferred to Cal State Northridge, but did not play a single game.
“I’ve actually been teammates with Ricci and Kobe before. And it’s a pleasure that our careers have brought us to where we are today,” Gob said.
Paras, Rivero, and Gob will sit out one year of residency and will be eligible to play in UAAP Season 82 joining Nigerian big man, Bright Akhuetie.