Kobe Paras is still welcome to return to the University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons’ program if he still wants to and if he stays eligible, according to UP head coach Bo Perasol.
“He won’t be eligible in the UAAP anymore if he plays (in a commercial or professional league) there,” Perasol told The Manila Times.
“But if he still wants to come back and he remains eligible to play in the UAAP, he will be always welcome to play (for UP),” he added.
The 6-foot-6 Paras will turn 24 years old in September, while the UAAP allows players up to 25 years old to compete.
Paras on Tuesday signed with the East West Private (EWP) agency as he looks to pursue other career opportunities, with the new University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) season still uncertain to push through because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
EWP is the same agency that handles Filipino NBA prospect Kai Sotto, along with other talents of Filipino descent like Sage Tolentino, Cholo Anonuevo, and Caelum Harris.
In a statement, Perasol said Paras was willing to play for UP for at least one more season, but the uncertainty brought about by the pandemic forced him to look for opportunities elsewhere.
“We are both unsure and not so hopeful that college basketball will resume this year. It is in this backdrop that we agreed that he has to pursue his other opportunities. Kobe is too talented to be kept waiting for things to come. I believe it is his obligation to pursue these and showcase his God given talent. Our program was blessed to have been a part of his journey,” said Perasol.
Paras registered 16.1 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.2 blocks, and 1.1 steals in his lone playing year for UP in the UAAP season 82, where he earned a spot in the Mythical Team and helped lead the Fighting Maroons to the Final Four.
Paras, who plays the three and four positions, last saw action for Gilas PIlipinas in the second window of the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers last November.