By JONAS TERRADO
Kobe Paras fired 25 points in an impressive debut but Niigata Albirex suffered an 85-81 home loss to the Kyoto Hannaryz in the B.League opener yesterday at the City Hall Plaza Aore Nagaoka.
Paras was on target right after scoring the team’s first basket with an 18-foot jumper which helped Niigata rally from being down early in the contest to take a 50-41 lead at halftime.
But Paras and the rest of Niigata Albirex cooled off in the second half as Kyoto wound up getting the victory.
The son of PBA legend Benjie Paras shot 8-of-16 from the field with a variety of jumpshots and drives to the hoop while adding four assists and two steals in 33 minutes.
His performance ironically came on the day the elder Paras turned 53 years old.
Paras was the first Filipino to start his campaign in Japan, with four others kicking off theirs later in the day.
Thirdy Ravena of San-En Neophoenix faced older brother Kiefer and the Shiga Lakestars while Ray Parks Jr. opened his campaign with the Nagoya Diamond Dolphins against the Shibuya Sun Rockers in Tokyo.
Juan Gomez de Liano began his season with the Earthfriends Tokyo Z in the second division by facing the Kagawa Five Arrows.