LOS ANGELES – PBA Hall of Famer and actor Benjie Paras has been dropping in at Cathedral High School during spring practices with Kobe Paras and his travel team the LA Purple Ghosts.
“Obviously as a player he really excelled a lot and not really being an athlete or doing well in basketball, outside the court he’s really different now. He’s more mature and very much independent,” Benjie said of his son.
“It’s cool I miss him a lot. It’s been hard without him but I’ve learned to be dependent on myself. So it’s been a pretty cool experience so at least when he’s here now may mag-lalaba na sa akin,” Kobe laughed.
Benjie says he’s been happy with the way his son has improved his game in the US over the past year on and off the court.
“When he was still in the Philippines studying he’s just an average student and right now I’m really proud of him. He’s part of an honor list. I’m really proud of him and that’s what I told him, ‘basketball is not forever’,” he said.
Despite his Hall of Fame resume, the cager turned actor says while he cheers on his 17-year-old UCLA-bound son, he’s keeping his hands off in Kobe’s development, leaving him in the coach’s hands.
“When they started learning basketball, okay, I will teach them some things and when they started playing for the school, I told them: ‘You’re on your own. You have a coach. Listen to your coach, whatever they say just do it’,” Benjie said.
And Kobe is not only improving in the court and classrooms through the Dunking Frogs program, coach William Middlebrooks makes sure his players are also active through various charities – another aspect that Benjie has enjoyed.
“The idea behind our program is to make sure that they’re becoming whole kids because they’re transforming into men and we want them to be responsible parents, responsible men in society and being well-rounded, well-spoken people,” Middlebrooks said.
“Sharing your blessings, I think that’s one of the important things, is sharing your blessings onto other people,” Benjie said.
Benjie has been in the US in the past few weeks, recruiting potential players for San Beda while spending time with Kobe.
Along with teammates, the father and son even paid a visit to boxing champ Manny Pacquiao.