Ahead of US return, Kobe Paras armed with key lessons after time with Gilas
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Kobe Paras will soon head back to the US and play for his new school CalState Northridge when the next season starts this November.
When he shows up on campus, he'll be armed with more expriences and lessons learned than when he left.
It's been a productive last few months for the 19-year-old, who spent his time learning what he could from Philippine national men's basketball team Gilas Pilipinas, where he's become one of the breakout stars.
"I don't really focus on the star players or whatever just because basketball is a team sport. There's no 'I' in the word team," he said. "I wouldn't be playing the way I am without my teammates. It's just learning the lessons."
One of those key lessons is accepting his role and making the most of it. Paras played sparingly in the Jones Cup and a scoreless 3:37 minutes in for the first game of the 2017 Southeast Asian Games Games against Thailand.
However, he bounced back strong in succeeding games, and helped the Philippines cop its 18th SEA Games basketball gold medal on Saturday, August 26, with a 94-55 thrashing of Indonesia in the gold medal match at the MABA Stadium.
Paras averaged 11.4 points, including a tournament-high 20 markers in a 95-point win over Myanmar. He found his rhythm and naturally pulled several dunk parties through the tournament and even in the final, where he was also a perfect 6-of-6 from the field for 14 points.
"I just have to accept my role and as you can see in the second, third, fourth game, last game I did good. I think it was just about timing," he said.
"And even though I'm young doesn't mean I can't play. Just with the opportunities I get, I need to make the most out of it.
"It's a different system and I just have to respect the coaches' decision and just play my game when I have the chance," he added.
Paras, who transferred to CalState Northridge after being unable to crack the rotation in one season with Creighton, admitted the limited minutes with Gilas affected him initially. But he knew his time would come if he worked for it.
"At first I was sad, but it's adversity. I had to literally face adversity man to man. I just can't whine about why I'm not playing or why I'm not doing this. It's on me to put the effort and to put the work and to play well," he said.
"Confidence is there. All the people talking bad, my minutes, it doesn't affect me because I know my game and I know what I can bring."
Paras, who has been vocal about supporting government troops in the crisis in Marawi City, reiterated once more that his win is dedicated to the soldiers there.
"This gold's not just for our fellow Filipinos here or the Philippines," he said. "This gold medal I have is for the soldiers back in Marawi, just because they're the only ones fighting for freedom and peace. And I really appreciate them." – Rappler.com