Three Biggest Benefits of Having a Kobe Paras in Gilas

Ren delos Santos on Jun 06, 2017 05:41 PM
Three Biggest Benefits of Having a Kobe Paras in Gilas
Should Kobe Paras be given a chance to try out for a slot in Gilas Pilipinas? (Photo courtesy of Vyn Radovan).

As Kobe Paras expressed his desire to try out for a slot in Gilas Pilipinas bound for the FIBA Asia Championship in August because he would sit out one year in the US NCAA due to his required residency in Cal State Northridge, he should definitely be a shoo-in to don the national colors.  

Born with all the physical gifts the basketball gods can allow, Kobe is purposely built to play basketball. Much like his PBA (Philippine Basketball Association) legend dad, Benjie Paras, he is taunted as a game changer, a ball player that is predicted by most as the predestined star that will fulfill every hot-blooded Pinoy hoop fan’s elusive dream of finally seeing a truly homegrown talent making it in the NBA (National Basketball Association).  Take the name for example and you will find an amalgamation of a fantasy that a nation embodies; Kobe taken from the namesake of the NBA legend Kobe Bryant and of course, a surname that can only be associated with local basketball scene, Paras.

Kobe is by far, the poster child of that long forlorn dream of a homegrown Filipino NBA player and his recent struggles after his freshmen year in his Creighton Blue Jays uniform has had many pundits reassess their expectations on the three-star recruit’s future career trajectory.

As we all anxiously watch every minute he steps out into the court, one question remains and this is if by any means, his participation in the national team will be the difference maker that the team needs as it eyes another campaign in the next few months. The short answer: YES.

Regardless of his lackluster campaign on his first year in a NCAA (National Collegiate Athletics Association) Division I team, Kobe has three significant upsides he can bring to the national pool.

First, the most obvious is size. The national team’s evident lack is in the size department, where standing at 6’6” Kobe can bring more size and play as “tweener” who can play at least four positions in both offense and defense. We must say, this outlook may well be on the optimistic side, yet, Kobe can easily pass the eye test when we use the context of Asia as primary basis of comparison where the median height per position is shorter and where the opposition is less athletic than his competition in the United States, which gives Kobe a chance to utilize and leverage his physical gifts.

Second is athleticism. As said previously, not only is his size the sole gift, he has already shown sparks of brilliance that he has the potential to out jump, run, and hustle most of his counterparts with just limited court time. Though not relatively elite in some aspects as compared to his peers in the NCAA except for his vertical leap, his current skill sets are adequate enough as a very competitive package. What is intriguing about him is that, he has still yet to reach his peak physical conditioning and is still currently developing in this regard. Having him in the national pool will help him tremendously with the guidance of other pros and veteran coaching staff which he can bring once he comes into the season with the Cal State Northridge Matadors. The competition he will face will be different as well as the challenges he’ll face while getting accustomed to the different pace and style of play.

Finally, versatility. Kobe’s combination of size and athleticism will be critical in the national team’s efforts to close down on “positionless” players who can switch roles depending on the play utilized. Having a player that can slide, switch, or engage defenders and attackers in almost all positions and will give the national team a rare skill package that can be used with teams that opt for smaller, more mobile and pick and roll sets which is a staple in international basketball.

With the current trends in the sport, our national team can certainly use a player like Kobe Paras and only time can tell if this is another chapter to be written in his future as the first homegrown talent to play in the NBA.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Currently an Assistant Professorial Lecturer in De La Salle University, Ren delos Santos has written various pieces in a wide array of subjects and topics for magazines, broadsheets and websites revolving from politics to sports. Known as a rogue scholar among his peers, he is also known to have a passion for a wide array of athletic pursuits from boxing, jiujitsu and muay thai to football, American football and basketball.

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