|Kobe Paras is joining Albirex Niigata this B.League season. Dennis Acosta (file photo)|
MANILA--Kobe Paras has turned pro.
In an announcement to wake up Japanese and Filipino basketball fans on Sunday, the six-foot-six swingman is joining Albirex Niigata of the B.League.
Like six other Filipinos who were signed before him, Paras will be part of the B.League's Asian player quota.
"It will be the first time for the club to welcome Asian players," said Akira Kawakami, Albirex Niigata's president.
In effect, the son of PBA legend Benjie Paras will forgo his remaining collegiate years at the University of the Philippines, which he helped steer to a UAAP Final Four appearance in 2019.
Prior to joining UP, Kobe Paras initially thought about turning pro after a one-and-done stint with Creighton University in the US NCAA before eventually deciding to return to the Philippines to continue his amateur career.
"I am very grateful to have this opportunity to be a part of such a great organization and basketball league," Paras further said.
Niigata, the basketball affiliate of the well-known football club of the same name, looks to better its 16-38 finish last season as Paras is said to be the last member of its rebuild.
"It will be the last reinforcement for the opening," Kawakami further said.
"I look forward to playing in the role that coach [Fujitaki] Hiraoka has envisioned for me and showcasing the love I have for this game on a professional level in front of the great Niigata boosters," Paras added.
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