MANILA, Philippines – Kobe Paras definitely wants to be part of the Philippine national men's basketball team that will compete in the Southeast Asian Games in August, but there are still hurdles that can ultimately block his participation.
Last week, as Paras was introduced as the newest member of the CSUN Matadors, he stressed that competing in the SEA Games is part of his plans for the summer.
"Next month, I'll be competing for the national team in the FIBA 3x3 World Championships in France, so that's something that I'm looking forward to," said Paras.
"And I guess this August, there is something called the SEA Games in Malaysia, so I might be going there as well to represent my country," he added.
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Al Panlilio welcomed Paras' intent, saying, "I think everybody's welcome."
However, he pointed out that there are certain issues that may prevent Paras from making it to the team – namely, that he cannot join the national team for its regular practices as he does not reside in the Philippines full-time.
"The problem is if they will have the time to be here and prepare," Panlilio said. "Kasi you also hear Kiefer (Ravena), you also hear Bobby Ray Parks. 'Anytime you call me, I'm gonna be there.'"
"But the other commitments that they're going after, like 'yung they want to go to the NBA, they're in the D-League. I think it's unfair to the players who are here, committed to the pool, and practicing as required by the national coach," he further explained.
"So, of course, we welcome as many players as we can, but depende rin on their commitment also."
Paras, Ravena and Parks were not part of the initial pool of players that Reyes identified earlier this year, from which they chose the team that competed in the SEABA Championships last month. The players that will represent the country in the FIBA Asia Cup and SEA Games – both of which will take place in August – will likely be chosen from the same pool of players.
Panlilio believes it is unlikely Paras will be able to join the national team in the build-up for the SEA Games, as he will have to train with his new team while also taking summer classes.
"Like any other team, Ateneo or La Salle, they practice during the summer for the tournament, so I'm sure Northridge will have its own development program for the team. Hindi naman pwedeng i-miss ni Kobe 'yun," said Panlilio.
"Mahirap naman 'yung darating lang siya a week before the tournament," he pointed out. "Unfair naman to the others who have committed to be in the pool full time."
Paras has previously worn national team colors in various FIBA 3x3 tournaments, but has yet to join the cadet or the senior squad.
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