MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATED) University of the Philippines (UP) standout Kobe Paras is set to pursue other opportunities in his basketball career, given the uncertainty surrounding the collegiate basketball landscape.
UP head coach Bo Perasol confirmed to ABS-CBN News on Tuesday that upon discussions with Paras, they have agreed that "he has to pursue his other opportunities."
"Kobe is too talented to be kept waiting for things to come," Perasol explained.
On Tuesday, East West Private (EWP), the same agency that is representing Filipino teenager Kai Sotto, unveiled Paras as their newest player.
EWP also represents former Far Eastern University high school star Cholo Anonuevo, among others.
"Let tomorrow be your second chance to prove that you are better than today and yesterday. Welcome to the family Kobe," EWP said in its post.
Paras played for UP in Season 82 and immediately became a star for the Fighting Maroons. He averaged 17.4 points and 5.7 rebounds per game and earned Mythical Team honors while leading UP to the Final Four.
According to Perasol, Paras was committed to playing in the coming UAAP season, but there was no assurance that the league will return this year.
"He was unwavering in his commitment to play for another season last year. In fact, he was still committed for another season, if we play it this year," said Perasol.
"However, we are both unsure and not so hopeful that college basketball will resume this year," the coach admitted.
It was with this in mind that Perasol and Paras agreed that it would be best for the player's future to explore his options.
"I believe it is his obligation to pursue these and showcase his God-given talent," the coach said.
The UAAP cancelled second semester sports in Season 82, and cancelled Season 83 outright in December 2020. League officials previously expressed their hope that Season 84 can be held in September, although that remains to be seen given the pandemic situation in the country.
Although Paras played just one season for UP, Perasol was profuse in his gratitude for the high-flying swingman.
"His commitment in helping out our program has gone beyond our initial agreement of him playing for us for one or two seasons depending on what will come his way after each season," said Perasol.
"Our program was blessed to have been a part of his journey."
Paras committed to play for UP after a topsy-turvy stint in the United States, where he committed to University of California-Los Angeles before deciding to play for Creighton University instead. He played just one season in Creighton before deciding to transfer to California State University Northridge.
He left the school, however, when they fired coach Reggie Theus. Paras returned to the Philippines in 2018 where he first played for the Gilas Pilipinas cadets in the preseason before committing to UP.
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