Kobe Paras joined the Gilas Pilipinas' training pool Wednesday as the team prepares for the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers. He was one of 19 players on hand for the two-hour session.
Paras, who is still recovering from a shoulder injury he sustained last season in the UAAP, didn't participate in on-court workouts at the Meralco Gym in Ortigas, Pasig. Paras was recovering from a 15-hour trip from Naga with the University of the Philippines.
"Just happy I made practice today because even if I'm still injured, at least I'm showing [Tab Baldwin] that whatever happens, I just wanna be here to understand and get to know his system," Paras said. "This is the national team. It's not like I can just say no to this. I'd make sure that whatever happens, I'll be here."
The team was without interim coach Mark Dickel, who was recovering from a stomach ailment, but program director Baldwin ran his system's offensive sets for most of the practice.
After playing with the Fighting Maroons against Baldwin's Ateneo Blue Eagles, Paras said he was happy to absorb everything Baldwin had to say.
"It's amazing. I wish I knew this last year so could've beaten them in the UAAP. It's something else," Paras laughed. "And it's something where you learn something new every day. It's not a system that doesn't focus on one thing alone. It's a lot of parts. It's just exciting just because it's new for me. ... Coach Tab's proof to a lot of people that his system works."
Paras is looking to hit the floor next week.
"I wanna make sure that I'm 100 percent. I'm still injured from the UAAP, so hopefully I can get better," Paras said.
Kiefer Ravena, Troy Rosario, Roger Pogoy, CJ Perez, Javee Mocon, Justin Chua, Juan and Javi Gomez de Liaño, Jaydee Tungcab, Thirdy Ravena and Dave Ildefonso were among those in attendance.
Marc Pingris watched from the sidelines as he continues to deal with a knee ailment. Dwight Ramos and special Gilas draftees Isaac Go, Matt and Mike Nieto, Rey Suerte and Allyn Bulanadi were also there.
Poy Erram, Justine Baltazar and Ray Parks were absent.
Team manager Gabby Cui said the team is still "waiting for confirmation" from Baltazar, who hasn't attended team practices yet. Parks, meanwhile, is supposedly expected to "come to terms" with his contract negotiation with the TNT KaTropa by the end of the week.
Alaska big men Vic Manuel and Abu Tratter, on the other hand, could come by next week.
Gilas will take a break Thursday and is set to resume practices Friday and Saturday before resting again on Sunday.