KOBE Paras returned to the Filoil Flying V Arena for the first time since leading his high school team, La Salle Greenhills, to a semifinals victory over San Beda in 2014.
“I missed it. The last time I played, semis namin sa NCAA kalaban namin Baste. I won’t forget that. That was the happiest game for me, because people assumed we would lose and pretty happy to play in front of this crowd, warm welcome as always. I’m just here and happy representing Gilas,” added Paras.
In front of the packed crowd, the second generation player performed as expected – much to the delight of the fans, who trooped to watch him and the rest of the Gilas Pilipinas cadets play against reigning UAAP champions Ateneo.
The 69-75 loss at the hands of the Blue Eagles in the Filoil Flying V Preseason game hardly mattered for a national tema that is only trying to get better.
“This is a team that hasn’t practiced in awhile. Our practice is two times. Kulang-kulang lagi kami. We’re up against a team that has good chemistry, Ateneo pa. It was good. I was happy, the whole game we were having fun. It’s the preseason, we have a chance to get better. Team, chemistry on and off the court,” Paras told writers.
“They’re a good team. I do believe they have a chance of playing in the finals again. I’m just glad we went up against the best team. It was a good game, I’m just happy it was Ateneo, our first game.”
Playing in the national team has been on top of the priority list of Paras, who spent most of the past few years training in the United States and attending college there.
Now given more time to play for Gilas, Paras doesn’t mind playing for the national team on a full-time basis.
“You know me, every time the national team calls, my answer is always yes. Even though I’m in the States, nag-3-on-3 ako, nag-Jones Cup ako last minute and then SEA Games. I wouldn’t mind basta para sa bayan naman eh. It’s not an everyday thing,” said Paras.