Benjie Paras to son Kobe: Be humble, continue to improve
Alder Almo (The Philippine Star) - October 12, 2014 - 6:51pm

MANILA, Philippines – The former two-time PBA MVP Benjie Paras is excited but wants to keep his son Kobe's feet still on the ground after they accepted the offer to join the UCLA Bruins by 2016.

"I told him not to prove his worth but continue to improve," Paras told on Sunday.

"It's all verbal pa lang at this stage kasi junior pa lang siya. Pag fourth year na siya, dun na siguro papag-usapan ang mga detalye," Paras added. "It's a motivation and pressure at the same time."

The Los Angeles Times first reported on Saturday (Sunday Manila time) that Kobe has officially accepted the UCLA offer.

"I let him decide kung saan niya mas gusto. He can never go wrong with his decision since among all the schools that have shown interest, UCLA is up there," Paras said.

The Bruins are 11-time NCAA Division I champions and have produced great NBA players such as all-time scoring leader Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Gail Goodrich, Reggie Miller, Bill Walton, Jamaal Wilkes, Kevin Love and Russell Westbrook.

"Ni-review ko rin naman yung credentials ng UCLA and Steve (Alford) at (assistant coach) Ed Schilling. Both are good coaches," he added.

Paras is happy to have made the right choice of sending Kobe to the US after a two-year stint with the La Salle Greenhills in the NCAA juniors here.

"Gusto rin kasi niya talaga mag-aral sa Amerika. Ako naman as a father, I always supported my kids on what they want. I trust them to make the right decisions and I'm happy that my investment is starting to pay off," Paras said.

Though Kobe has yet to debut in a regular high school tournament in the US, the 6-6 athletic wingman has attracted a lot of NCAA schools after an impressive preseason showing with the LA Cathedral Phantoms and his stint in the FIBA U-18 World 3x3, where he won the slam dunk title.

He also helped Batang Gilas to a fifth place finish in the FIBA Asia U-17 basketball championship recently.

The 6-foot-6 Kobe is set to debut next month for the Phantoms. His high school coach William Middlebrooks has a large role in facilitating the UCLA offer.

"Si coach Middlebrooks nakita niya na may potential si Kobe. I hope matulungan pa niya lalo si Kobe na mailabas yung talagang laro niya," Paras said.

The younger Paras first gained the world's attention as a 15-year-old kid who dunked over LeBron James in a warm-up session during the NBA superstar's Nike Manila Tour in 2013.

With Kobe starting to carve his path to greatness, Benjie wants him to stay the course and not to be swayed by the hype.

"Bata pa naman siya eh. May igagaling pa siya. Basta ang lagi kong sinasabi sa kanya is to continue to work hard and at the same time, finish his studies," Paras said.

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