FIBA: Kobe Paras has no issue with playing out of position for Gilas

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 23 2020 05:31 PM

FIBA: Kobe Paras has no issue with playing out of position for Gilas 1
Kobe Paras in action for Gilas Pilipinas against Thailand. FIBA.basketball

MANILA, Philippines -- He didn't put up big numbers for Gilas Pilipinas when they competed in Bahrain recently, but Kobe Paras still drew praise from the coaching staff for his willingness to learn and to sacrifice for the team.

Paras averaged just 3.5 points and 5.5 rebounds per game in the national team's two wins over Thailand in the recent window of the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers, where he played just under 20 minutes per contest. 

The University of the Philippines standout played as a big in the "bubble," despite not being used to the position.

"We played him out of position because we really needed his size and strength around the basket and he wasn't comfortable at all," Gilas Pilipinas program director Tab Baldwin said in a recent appearance on the "Coaches Unfiltered" podcast.

"That was a burden he carried for us and never complained once," he added.

Paras, a Mythical Team member in UAAP Season 82, said that playing in the paint as opposed to the wing was a non-issue for him.

"You know, we're representing the country, I'd do anything for my country," he said during a recent press conference.

"If I need to get rebounds, play a big man position, I'd do anything, just for the team," he added.

Moreover, Paras enjoyed playing in the system installed by Baldwin, and relished the opportunity to learn from the esteemed coach. He also welcomed his reunion with Jong Uichico, who also coached him when he played for the Philippines in the 2017 Southeast Asian Games.

"I'm just really happy to be able to represent the country and be with my teammates again," said Paras. "This is the first time we've played this year, so I'm just really excited to be here."

He is looking forward to training with the national team again, and to learn more from Baldwin, Uichico and the coaching staff. 

"At this point, being under Coach Tab, I think I'll be able to master a lot of positions," Paras said. "Being under Coach Tab and Coach Jong is just really exciting, 'cause we get to learn a lot more."

"We get to understand the game better, so when we practice in January, I'm just really excited to learn from them again," he added.

Baldwin, for his part, believes Paras has a bright future in the national team after seeing how he worked during their training camp and during their games in Manama.

"(Kobe's) attitude is as good as everybody else there. He submitted himself to the environment, he worked extremely hard," said Baldwin. "We were aware that we were asking him to make an additional sacrifice playing out of position but never a peep of him about that. Did his job. Did it at the best of his ability."

"He was frustrated he didn't put in better performances but as far as I was concerned, his plus minuses were good, his heart stats were always very good so he was out there working extremely hard to do a great job for the team," he added.

"Kobe, to me, is long-term potentially a tremendous player for our program."

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