Kobe Paras to play for U.P. Fighting Maroons in UAAP Season 82

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 11) — Another Paras will suit up for the Fighting Maroons.

Gilas cadet Kobe Paras has decided to follow in the footsteps of his father Benjie after deciding to play for the University of the Philippines (U.P.) Fighting Maroons in the UAAP.

U.P. Fighting Maroons head coach Bo Perasol confirmed the news to CNN Philippines on Wednesday.

Perasol said Paras will be part of the state university's roster for Season 82.

Kobe is the son of Philippine Basketball Association legend Benjie Paras. The older Paras led the Fighting Maroons to its only UAAP men's basketball title in 1986.

"The University of the Philippines is the most respected educational institution in the country. The attraction of U.P. is not just its basketball program, which just gets better each year, but the world-class education it is known for," Paras said in a statement.

Paras said his decision to play for the Fighting Maroons was based on "what could contribute to me becoming better in my chosen field and at the sport I love."

"I look forward to the challenge of helping make the Fighting Maroons a better basketball team, and the challenge of helping myself become a better student," Paras added.

'Talent is talent'

Paras is currently part of the Gilas cadet squad training for the 2023 FIBA World Cup.

He first played for the men's national basketball team at the 2017 William Jones Cup, and later played for the country in the 2017 Southeast Asian Games. He has also represented the Philippines in FIBA 3x3 tournaments.

Perasol welcomed the addition of the former Cathedral High School standout.

"Talent is talent, and we are fortunate to have a talent like Kobe on board. Winning, as experience has shown us, takes more than talent. We have to get everyone on the same page and to play the right way, and that is what we will be working on in the months to come," Perasol said.

Revamped roster

Paras will be joining fellow Gilas teammate Ricci Rivero and Nigerian big man Bright Akhuetie next year in the Maroons' fold.

Rivero, who is a transferee from the De La Salle University, will also make his debut in Season 82 for the Diliman-based squad.

U.P. President Danilo Concepcion said the roster revamp shows that "the State University is serious about becoming a competitive team that has a legitimate shot at winning a title we last won in 1986."

"The team's name is extremely apt, because the words 'Fighting Maroons' do not only apply to the team's players--who do not have the same resources as their counterparts in better-funded sports programs--but to our students who do not have the same advantages as those born into wealth. Player ka man o estudyante ng unibersidad, ang puhunan mo lang ay galing at tapang," Concepcion added.

U.P. has failed to make it to the UAAP Final Four since 1997.