Kobe Paras (center). File Photo
MANILA, Philippines -- Kobe Paras, son of former PBA rookie MVP winner Benjie, has qualified to represent the country in the 3x3 basketball event of the 2nd Youth Olympic Games (YOG) slated from August 16 to 28 in Nanjing, China.
The 6-foot-6 Paras, 16, made it to the Nanjing-bound team after he steered the Philippine team to last year's FIBA 3x3 Under-18 World Championship in Jakarta, Indonesia and winning the slam dunk title in the process.
The problem though is that his former teammates Thirdy Ravena, Arvin Tolentino and Prince Rivero are already over the age limit, leaving three vacant spots in the team that Paras, who is now studying in the United States, will lead.
That's why the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas is in the process of holding qualification tournaments for the last three berths in the team.
Actually, the names of Dino San Juan of La Salle-Greenhills, JP Cauilan and Chino Mosqueda of National University came out as the top candidates to fill the void but they will need more qualification points to make it to the team, according to SBP administrator Joemar Benedicto.
To date, only three athletes have made it the squad to Nanjing, two from archery and one from gymnastics.
A total of 222 events are calendared in the YOG with a total of 155 countries including a 142-strong Chinese team expected to participate.