MISSION HILLS, Calif. – After a week of dominating performances by Cathedral High school which features six of the state’s top ranked high school players, it took a thrilling buzzer beater to win the championship game of San Fernando Valley Invitational – the first major tournament of the high school basketball season.
“It was definitely exciting,” said Milan Aquaah. “At the beginning of the game I felt I didn’t play to the best of my ability but we went into halftime and talked about it and I knew I need to keep my composure.”
Kobe Paras, the 17-year-old son of PBA Legend turned actor Benjie Paras, scored the Phantom’s first seven points in Tuesday’s championship round against Chaminade high school but foul trouble limited his action.
When he was on the floor he was efficient in scoring 11 points.
His defense led to a Milan Aquaah dunk that cut the lead in the final minute.
Paras, Aaquah, Brazilian Lucase Seiwart and Fil-Am Jameel McGee received All Tournament Honors.
“It’s great, my first time having a tournament here with my teammates,” said Paras. “Without them without coach we wouldn’t have this, his words of wisdom the things he told us he told us to stay humble and play our game and we did.”
“It feels great, first tournament winning, beating Chaminade and they’re pretty good so it’s great just getting the W,” said Jameel McGill.
Giving Kobe extra motivation was his older brother actor-model Andre. Andre watched two of the games and will spend the holidays with Kobe.
“It feels great having family here,” said Paras. “It’s amazing. He’s not just my family. I still have the Cathedral family. They’re the ones who help me, tell me what to do and all I do is basketball and that’s what they tell me. They motivate me even the fans are amazing.”
“Doing this traveling is super worth it,” said Andre. “I’ve seen him for two games only. I’m really proud of him. It’s not just a present that I’m here. It’s also a present for me to see him play well and just being to a game. That’s the greatest gift just to be with him again.”
Andre will accompany Kobe and the Phantoms in Las Vegas for another four day tournament that begins on Thursday.
With a roster loaded with some of the state’s top players Cathedral high school has high expectations coming into the season. Their week of domination and this game of may be proof that they can exceed those expectations.