By Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN North America Bureau
Nov. 11, 2014
LOS ANGELES – Playing as the Los Angeles Purple Ghosts, it was a big victory for the Cathedral High School as their basketball team defeated Diego Prep, 76-61, at the famed Staples Center – home of the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers.
UCLA-bound Kobe Paras got off to a slow start in his Staples Center debut, but played in a physical manner, fighting for rebounds and making his way to the foul line.
While there were no official statistics kept, ABS-CBN North America counted 12 points for Paras, including a huge slam dunk.
“It’s really different, because you see the stadium is really big,” said the former La Salle Greenhills standout. “It’s just amazing that you get to play on the court where a lot of professional teams have played in.”
“The competition was really physical. There was a lot of banging, and I didn’t know the game here would be that intense, so it was a great experience,” he added.
While the score was close at halftime, 88th ranked Filipino-American senior Jameel McGill led a second-half surge for the Purple Ghosts.
“We played against a prep team, and they’re older and more aggressive than high school players, so it’s getting us ready for our season,” said McGill.
The Purple Ghosts feature several highly ranked high school and international players, and the year-long program under Middlebrooks Basketball take part in these showcases that help improve their skills and their chances of winning when their season comes.
“It gives us team chemistry. We also got exposure today, and I feel like it’s going to help us when we get deeper in the playoffs and play bigger games like this,” said Milan Acquaah, ranked 51st in California.
Paras and his teammates will play more top ranked teams over the next two months before the high school basketball season starts in January.
The victory over Diego Prep was also a revenge game of sorts for the Purple Ghosts, whom they lost to several weeks ago.