Perfect Paras keeps dunk title
KOBE Paras shone on the world stage yet again.
Garnering a perfect score on his final dunk, Paras successfully defended his crown in the Fiba World under-18 slamdunk championship Sunday night (Monday morning in Manila) in Debrecen, Hungary.
The 6-foot-5 Paras narrowly edged Jalek Felton of the United States in the final round where the Filipino teenage sensation scored a perfect 30 points after soaring over teammate Ricci Rivero for a reverse dunk.
Felton, who tallied 29 points, settled for the silver, while Uruguay’s Agustin Da Costa earned the bronze.
Paras, the 17-year-old son of PBA legend Benjie Paras, reached the Final Four after topping the elimination round Saturday.
“I’m just giving credit to my dad because he’s the athlete who dunks a lot, and without him, I wouldn’t have this ability,” Paras said in an interview with Fiba.com.
“Having him as a dad and people telling me that I need to be like him or be better than him makes me want to practice better and become a better person.”
The feat turned out to be the bright spot in the Philippines’ campaign after the young Nationals failed to get past the elimination round of the Fiba 3×3 U18 World Championship, which New Zealand ruled.
Paras, together with Rivero, Mike Nieto and Richard Escoto, finished fifth in Pool A after two wins over Hungary (19-18) and Kazakhstan (13-8) and three losses to Poland (13-15), Russia (9-21) and Uruguay (13-19).
In 2013, Paras was the youngest player, at 15, in the Jakarta edition where he surprisingly beat standouts from the US and Spain to bag the slam dunk crown.
Paras used to see action for La Salle Green Hills before moving to the US last year to play for Los Angles Cathedral High School. Jasmine W. Payo
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