Kobe Paras shifts focus on Gilas cadets, keeps doors open on pro career

MANILA, Philippines – Kobe Paras is not closing his doors on any opportunities regarding his decision to turn pro.

Paras, who returned to the country on Monday, April 16, over a month after announcing that he would leave the Cal State Northridge (CSUN) Matadors to pursue a professional career, cleared he is not just targeting the NBA. 

"When I say go pro, it doesn't mean NBA. There's a lot of people that kept saying NBA. It is a professional league but there's a lot of pro teams out there," said the 20-year-old during Chooks To Go's homecoming press conference. 

Paras initially was supposed to stay in the United State to continue his NCAA career with the Matadors until his former head coach, Reggie Theus, was fired by the school. 

Theus promised to give Paras, who transferred to CSUN after barely seeing action with the Creighton University Bluejays, playing time. However, Theus' exit proved to be the last thing Paras needed. 

"It was shocking to me that he got fired because I was ready to play. Since that happened I had to make a decision to myself," said Paras. 

Earning money he "deserved" was also a factor in Paras' decision to leave the NCAA.

The NCAA neither permits players to accept endorsement deals nor gifts, both monetary or in kind. 

"That's two years that I've been in college, there's rules that I can't endorse, I can't earn money with the national team there are a lot of rules that prevent me from earning the money that I deserve," said Paras. 

"I just made the decision that I want to go pro, it's because where I can live a life where I'm getting the things that I deserve." 

With his return to the Philippines, Paras will be joining the Gilas 23 for 2023 cadets that will be competing in the Filoil Flying V Premier Cup, which kicks off on April 21.

There is also a possibility Paras will also be a part of the Philippine team for the FIBA 3x3 World Cup. 

While he gets busy with the national cadet squad, Paras is not counting out the PBA as a potential destination.

"PBA is a professional league, that's all I'm going say. When I said I was going pro, there's a lot of pro leagues out there." – Rappler.com

Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.