By Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN North America Bureau
Nov. 6, 2014
LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Days before a special Staples Center showcase, UCLA-bound Kobe Paras continues to work hard on his game along with his teammates in the Los Angeles Purple Ghosts squad.
“I’m excited, because I’ve never played in a stadium. Hopefully I do good and my teammates will, too,” said Paras. “And hopefully, we’ll get a win.”
The high school season will start in January, but for now Paras plays for the LA Purple Ghosts, an elite team of teens coached by his Cathedral High coach William Middlebrooks.
The year-round program includes other nationally and state-ranked players, and some of his teammates are also exchange students. Brazilian Lucas Siewart, for instance, plays for his national team as well.
“It’s good, the competition is good. It’s one of the things I like,” Siewart said. “He’s from another country too, so we feel the same things like being homesick and stuff, so we talk about it.”
Paras is not the only Filipino either. Fil-Ams Vicente Mojares and Avery Carter are two prodigies, while Jameel McGill is ranked as the 88th best high school prospect in California.
“It’s great because during practice, they’re always pushing me,” said McGill.
“It’s a great experience for me because it helps me get better, especially when I play against guys like Kobe,” said Mojares.
Paras, who moved to Los Angeles earlier this year, admits that being surrounded by other foreign players and fellow Filipinos has helped his transition in the United States.
“It feels cool to have teammates like that, because the other teams, they don’t have teammates that are ranked. Having teammates at the highest level is really cool. It means we can compete and be friends and teammates,” he said.
Tickets to Monday’s LA Purple Ghosts showcase game are still available by emailing email@example.com.