Kobe Paras is destined to be the face of the Gilas Pilipinas program
Paul Lintag on Jun 28, 2017 02:07 PM
THE FUTURE IS NOW. (FIBA)
With the announcement of the Gilas Pilipinas team that will compete in the 2017 Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur, the Philippine basketball youth movement is in full effect.
And national team head coach Chot Reyes wants the supremely-athletic Kobe Paras to be the face of the Gilas program now and in the foreseeable future.
Reyes included the 19-year-old Paras to the SEA Games team on Tuesday. The son of former PBA MVP Benjie Paras will join a star-studded team that only has four members aged 25 or older.
Almond Vosotros and Fil-German Christian Standhardinger are the oldest players in the national team for the biennial meet and both are still only 27 years old.
"One thing we want from Kobe is his age. We wanted him to get used to the way men are playing, to get exposed to the elite basketball at this point," Reyes said of Paras who participated in his first practice with the team Tuesday at the Meralco Gym.
"We're building a program and part of that are the youth. Kobe I think, is going to be the face or the forerunner, the symbol of the youth brigade," he added.
With Paras more comfortable playing as a guard despite him being 6'6", Reyes does not expect Kobe to drastically change his style of play just to fit in with Gilas Pilipinas.
In fact, Kobe's skill set is perfect to the kind of game Reyes likes to run which is basically position-less basketball.
"We want him to play his game. The more important thing is he understands the system and his teammates," Reyes said on Kobe's adjustments, if there are any.
"We are not a position-oriented system. We have several bigs and everybody else is guard or forward. Everyone can make plays [and] that's why we feel Kobe's skill set is perfect for him," the national team coach added.
While there's no actual lineup yet for the Jones Cup, Paras appears to be set for that team as well on top of his inclusion for the SEA Games delegation.
Gilas exposing Paras to these kinds of tournaments is all part of Reyes' long-term program to develop the countries young assets and secure the country's future when it comes to basketball.
Young Kobe seems destined to be the face of that long-term program.
"We want a 19-year-old, at the very least, in the SEA Games. In the Jones Cup he's gonna face the killers in his spot, the tough Asian big men and wingmen. That's gonna be part of the education of Kobe," Reyes said.
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