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By Ronnie Nathanielsz

Sun, 06 Oct 2013

When the son of Benjie Paras won the FIBA Slam Dunk competition in the 3 on 3 tournament in Jakarta it was a memorable moment that reflected the innate talent of our youngsters and was particularly gratifying because Kobe Paras, barely 16 years of age, is the son of one of the finest young men who ever played the game ? the illustrious ?Tower of Power? Benjie Paras.

Benjie?s singular achievement of being the first ? and so far the only player in the pro league to win both the ?Rookie of the Year? and the coveted ?Most Valuable Player? awards in 1989 and to duplicate the MVP-winning feat ten years later, must rank as one of the remarkable achievements in Philippine basketball.

Benjie was unhesitatingly named as one of the PBA?s ?25 Greatest Players? on its 25th season and represented the Philippines in the 1990 Asian Games in Beijing, China where, after a mere two weeks of preparation, the squad coached by the ?Living Legend? of Philippine basketball ? Robert Jaworski ? won the silver medal losing to mighty China in the finals.

What makes Benjie Paras so special is his innate decency, his fair-mindedness and his fundamental goodness.

His sons Kobe and Andre who is a freshman at the University of the Philippines where Benjie, his bosom buddy Ronnie Magsanoc and Eric Altamirano teamed up to give the fiery yet lovable Joe Lipa, one of our outstanding coaches, UP?s first UAAP title in 50 years, are being guided properly by their father whose values stand firm and whose deep down good-sense cannot be questioned.

Benjie is, besides all else, an entertainer. Basketball fans look forward to his appearance on the PBA pre-game, halftime and post-game shows because he is able to lace his expert but simple-language analysis with a touch of humor which has always been an endearing trait.

For us who have known Benjie since he was a teenager who bannered the Philips Sardines champion team in the amateur league ? then known as the PABL - where we used to cover the games on television along with the brilliant American coach Ron Jacobs, the success of Benjie and now his son Kobe gives us immeasurable satisfaction because good men and their children richly deserve to reap the rewards that come their way.

Kobe, in many respects, takes after his father. He?s got undeniable basketball skills and a streak of the entertainer in him.

Top photo: Kobe Paras dunks.

Kobe Paras' father Benjie.

When PBA Commissioner Chito Salud and Board chairman Robert Non provided a simple welcome and honored Kobe at half-time of Tuesday?s second game in the semi final series between SanMig Coffee and Meralco which was in basketball terms a disappointment, the crowd came alive at the site of Kobe and his spectacular dunks which even the high-flying PBA pros would find hard to emulate let alone surpass.

Kobe Paras together with brother Andre is handled by Viva Artists Management headed by Ms. Veronique Corpus, the eldest daughter of show business czar Vic del Rosario. The young lady has inherited her father's showbiz savvy and two names come to mind in demonstrating Veronique's touch - Anne Curtis and Sarah Geronimo.

With his good looks, his explosive basketball talent and most of all his well-mannered ways so reminiscent of his Dad, Kobe Paras is bound to emerge as a superstar in the future provided he keeps his feet on the ground, his head screwed on the right way and continues to learn the values and virtues of a disciplined sportsman which were ingrained in his father.

Sons and daughters are a blessing. They are, as Psalm 127 :3 tells us, ?a gift from the Lord and a reward from Him.?

Benjie Paras deserves the blessings and rewards he receives and we fervently hope his sons Kobe and Andre will follow in his legendary footsteps.

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