Kobe Paras will not suit up for Gilas Pilipinas in the final window of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers which is set from February 18 to 22 in Clark, Pampanga.
The 23-year old swingman refused to divulge more information about his decision but claimed it was ‘medical issue’.
Paras donned the national colors during the Manama window of the qualifiers and submitted 2-game averages of 3.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists, and 1.0 steal.
Gilas program director Tab Baldwin earlier heaped praises of the son of PBA legend Benjie Paras for going out of his comfort zone and playing the power forward position for the undersized Philippine team.
“All credit to Kobe because he submitted himself to the environment, he worked extremely hard. We played him out of position because we really needed his size and strength around the basket, and he wasn’t comfortable at all, so that was a burden he carried for us and never complained once,” said Baldwin.
“I think at one point in the second game I said, ‘Kobe, go out and play on the wing now,’ and he said, ‘Thank you coach, I’ve been dying to do that’ with a grin on his face. 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.”
Despite his decision to skip the upcoming window, Baldwin believes that the high-flying Paras remains an integral part of the national team’s program.
“Kobe, to me, is long-term, potentially a tremendous player for our program. Kobe’s attitude is extraordinary. He really, really wants to be a great player, he has an extremely competitive mindset. Obviously from an athletic standpoint, he is elite. He is one of the best athletes I’ve been around.”