Blue-chip college star Paras also takes act to Japan
Kobe Paras is the latest Filipino basketball player to bring his act to the Japanese B.League, joining the Niigata Albirex BB in a deal announced on Sunday.
“I can’t wait to be a better player and work hard to make lifelong memories with my teammates, staff and great fans,” the 23-year-old swingman, who last played for the University of the Philippines (UP), said in a press statement.
Paras, a second-generation star at UP, joins Albirex BB through the Asian Player Quota System, the same pathway first taken by former Ateneo ace Thirdy Ravena, and eventually other collegiate stars in Juan and Javi Gomez de Liaño—whom Paras played alongside with at UP—and Kemark Cariño of San Beda.
Also set to see action in the Japanese circuit are PBA stars Kiefer Ravena and Ray Parks Jr., who will be suiting up for teams playing in the B.League’s top division.
“We are very pleased to have reached a contract agreement (with) Kobe,” said Akira Kawakami, president and chief operating officer of Albirex BB that finished with 16-38 record for 17th place in the 20-team Division I field.
“It will be the first time for the club to welcome Asian players, but (Paras will) be the last reinforcement [ahead] of the opening,” he added.
Alibrex BB’s first game will be on the road in Kyoto on Oct. 2.
“Arigato! Grateful for the opportunity,” Paras later wrote in a tweet.
Prior to his move to Japan, Paras was back in the United States—his former stomping ground—training with East West Private, the player management firm that also handles the career of 7-foot-3 teen Kai Sotto and lady Filipino trailblazer Jack Danielle Animam.
His lone stint with State U saw him average 16.1 points, 5.1 rebounds, 2.5 blocks and 1.1. INQ
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