News of the 20-year-old Gilas cadet taking his talents to father Benjie Paras' alma mater of UP after playing in the US surfaced on Wednesday. According to Kobe, his decision to join the Maroons isn't just to follow in his dad's footsteps. The university won its last UAAP championship in 1986, back when—you guessed it—Benjie was still part of the team.
Kobe was quoted by SPIN.ph: "I look forward to the challenge of helping make the Fighting Maroons a better basketball team, and the challenge of helping myself become a better student. The attraction of UP is not just its basketball program, which just gets better each year, but the world-class education it is known for."
The 6'5" prodigy, who had stints in Creighton and Cal State Northridge, will serve a one-residency before suiting up for UP in Season 82, same as fellow transferee Ricci Rivero. The Maroons become instant title favorites (at least on paper) with the addition of Kobe and Ricci to the already promising core of Bright Akhuetie, Will Gozum, and brothers Juan and Javi Gomez de Liano.
The development skyrocketed to the top of Twitter's Philippine trends, as fans of collegiate basketball and UP, as well as hardcore admirers of Kobe, shared their thoughts.
A reminder of how unfair the Maroons will be next year
The UAAP version of a superteam
That's such a scary sight
They should have a separate competition
Coach Bo 'Thanos' Perasol
Not everyone was thrilled, though
Live look at the Blue Eagle Gym
Sad but true