Kobe Paras is being hailed as a champion of the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons Men’s Basketball Team (UP MBT) in the ongoing University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Season 82 tournament.
The claim is solidly supported by the numbers: Kobe is the only active player in the ongoing UAAP tourney scoring with double figures in all his games.
Paras’ heroic stance in the October 6 UP Fighting Maroons game against the Far Eastern University squad further elevated his stature among sports fans. The 22-year-old kept playing hardball throughout the rollercoaster game with steals, rebounds, passes, layups, free throws, and a slam dunk highlight punctuating his performance.
The UP squad fought back against all odds, adjusting to a head coach-less game, forcing the game to overtime after being down 19 points – and the Maroon player wearing Jersey #6 was one of the keys in that hard-fought game which was eventually lost.
But despite the loss, Kobe Paras remained upbeat. In post-game interviews with media, he said, “After the loss, everyone was positive about it. I’m really happy everyone’s in a good state.”
“Of course it’s different, just because coach Bo is the leader of the team as the head coach. But we don’t really want to focus on that. We just have to learn from this and just get better,” added Paras.
“We have coach Ricky for the next two games and we’re just blessed that even though wala si coach Bo, we have a coach to step up. It’s just like the saying when one man falls, another rises. That goes for both players and coaches. I’m just happy that we have coach Ricky (Dandan).”
After his UAAP debut game for the state university squad, sports fans and analysts also heaped praises on the young Paras’ athleticism and promising career. Kobe didn’t let all the praises get to him though. he said “A lot of people talk. But I always remind my guys to just focus on us. We’re the ones playing, not the people talking.”
Kobe Paras also said, “I’m just happy to be given another chance in life and basketball.”
Kobe Lorenzo Paras joined the UP Fighting Maroons just before Season 81 but had to sit out his residency in the 2018 tournament that gave the team its first finals appearance 32 years after his father Benjie Paras helped win a championship in 1986. He had previously played for the national team after coming back from his collegiate basketball journey in the United States.
At the time he joined the UP basketball squad, Paras expressed his excitement for two things: helping the UP Men’s Basketball Team win a championship in 2019 and getting an education from the top university in the Philippines.
“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,” said Paras explaining his choice of UP from among the many offers he received.
Kobe Paras was the UP MBT’s MVP at the 2019 BLIA Cup Championship series before the UAAP season started. He also had his share of beyond-the-classroom UP education when he and his fellow Maroons joined the advocacy to buy local rice to support Filipino farmers.
The UP Fighting Maroons’ 6th man in the court, the UP fans, are once again expected to come in droves as the Men’s Basketball Team plays its second game without suspended coach Bo Perasol in the arena.
The UP Fighting Maroons Men’s Basketball Team goes up against the University of the East Red Warriors on Saturday, October 12, bearing a win-loss card of 5-3 for the second spot in the race towards the Final Four of the UAAP Season 82.
SEND cheers in the comments below to the UP Fighting Maroons as it goes for another #UPFight against-all-odds game at the UAAP.
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