Apr 25
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Benjie Paras

A prized recruit from San Beda High School, Paras started as center for University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons, where he once scored 19 points, grabbed 17 rebounds, and blocked seven shots against rival Far Eastern University. The prized UP player had all the basketball essentials in him-agility, rebounding strength, and shooting touch. Eventually, the Maroons went on to win its second UAAP Men's basketball title against the University of the East Red Warriors led by Jerry Codi?era and Allan Caidic.

The Rookie from UP

Drafted by the Shell Turbo Chargers in 1989, Paras, aptly nicknamed "The Tower of Power", played in the PBA with good ball-handling, powerful rebounding, deft mid-range shooting, well-timed shot blocks and the uncanny ability for inside scoring. Although his team did not win any title that season, these abilities overshadowed even the most skilled of players and because of these he not only took Rookie of the Year, but also became its Most Valuable Player. Benjie Paras was the only PBA player to have done this feat.

Paras as a Turbo Charger

In 1990, Paras would lead Shell to their first Open Conference title by defeating Anejo Rhum in a championship series that finished in 6 games, the climax featured a walk out by Anejo players. In 1991, Shell and Ginebra would meet again in the Finals of the Reinforced Conference. Paras and the Tubro Chargers seemed poised to beat the Gins once again after taking a commanding 3-1 lead, but the Gins made a dramatic rally and coming back from the 3-1 deficit and winning the title in a classic Game 7 encounter that featured Rudy Distrito's game winner.

Paras was also selected to play in the 1990 Asian games Basketball Team that won the silver medal, coming up short against China in the gold-medal match.

In 1992, Paras and the rejuvenated Turbo Chargers now with Leo Isaac, and Rey Cuenco led Shell to another title, winning it over the San Miguel Beermen. After the 1992 title, Paras and Shell would show inconsistencies as it flirted to the cellars in several occasions. This was also capped with a controversy back in 1993 when Paras sat out for one conference after a contract dispute with Shell that prompted him to demand a trade deal to rival team Anejo Rhum. But after Shell rejected trade offers for their prized center, he decided to concentrate on his movie and TV career. After Paras came back to the team in the 1993 PBA Commissioner's Cup, the team never made to the Finals until 1996 Commissioner's Cup, thanks in part to import Kenny Redfield and supporting casts Peter Naron, Richie Ticzon, Victor Pablo, Jojo Lim etc. in 1996 and battled the grandslam seeking Alaska Aces, then known as the Alaska Milkmen in an unbelievable 7 Game series which Alaska won. Paras was also a contender to win the MVP in the 96 season of the PBA.

Paras would then re-enter the Finals 2 years later in the Centennial Cup Finals this time meeting the Mobiline Phone Pals. In a one-game title showdown, Shell came up short. Paras would get his revenge thanks to the help of Noy Castillo and Gerald Esplana as the rematch was set for The Governor's Cup Finals of the PBA against Mobiline. Shell came back after trailing the series 3 games to 2. Shell and Mobiline battled into a gruelling 7 games until Shell prevailed due to timely baskets by Paras and Esplana.

In 1999, Paras dominated the Filipino-Americans (Fil-Am) laden PBA by leading Shell to another Finals appearance this time against Tanduay Rhum Makers bannered by Fil-Am Eric Menk and the deported Sonny Alvarado. Paras held his own against the two taller, stronger and more athletic Fil-Ams as he led Shell to another title winning it 4-2. That would be Paras' last title, as his team was unable to stop the San Miguel Beermen in the title showdown for the Commissioner's Cup. Paras would win his 2nd MVP since 1989.

For his last three years, injuries plagued his playing career and it was so bad he only saw action in 44 games from 2000 to 2002. Paras retired at age 34 before the opening of 2003 season. However, he returned later in the year, suiting up for San Miguel Beer before retiring once again at season's end.

Paras played in a total of 574 games in his career. Not counting the 2002 campaign, he collected 10,322 points, 4,402 rebounds, 1,822 assists, 1,323 blocks and 221 steals.

Career developments

Paras retired in 2003, ending his 14-year career with the Philippine Basketball Association. He is currently an actor.

He has acted in local films and television shows. He appeared in Narito Ang Puso Ko, his first drama series on GMA Network, he also appeared in a former sitcom, Lagot Ka, Isusumbong Kita, a weekly sitcom by GMA and also starred in Encantadia, as the Ascano barbarian, Wahid. He is also the host of ABC's local version of Guinness Book of Records. He also flexed his acting muscles by playing offbeat roles in Lupin (as Richard Gutierrez's gay inmate) and Fantastic Man (as one of Mark Herras' villains). In late 2007, he became one of main casts in Ramon "Bong" Revilla's movie, Resiklo, which is an entry in Metro Manila Film Festival. He was also the main host for the short-lived late night ABC 5 gameshow, "WinWinWin". On November 2007, he was cast as one of the fictional characters for Richard Gutierrez's former fantaserye on GMA 7, "Kamandag", as Haring Dinggol, king of the human-apes. Paras recently finished his GMA 7 comedy teleserye, "Adik Sa'Yo" with Marvin Agustin & Jolina Magdangal. Benjie Paras is now currently worked with boxer Manny Pacquiao in a new GMA 7 Sitcom, "Show Me Da Manny". Paras is back again on GMA Telebabad for the role as a villain in a recent drama-fantaserye, "The Last Prince". Benjie returns to comedy via a reality comedy show, "Ang Yaman Ni Lola". Benjie returns once again in a 1st Christmas reality show and is now included in a newest GMA 7 Christmas Reality Show, Puso Ng Pasko: Artista Challenge which he was a challenger.

Paras plays the best friend of Vic Sotto in the movie "Skul Bukol The Reunion" ("Iskul Bukol: 20 Years After") Iskul Bukol#Iskul Bukol 20 Years After (Adventures of Vic Ungasis and the Escalera Brothers) and the best friend of Vhong Navarro's best friend in the movie "My Only U."

Paras is married to Lyxen Diomampo, a preschool teacher and commercial model. They will have their 1st child in December. Benjie has 2 other sons, Andre, 13, and Kobe, 11.

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TV Series

  1. Show Me Da Manny (2009) ... Oscar Paredes
  2. Clear Men Future League (2009) ... Host
  3. Adik Sa 'Yo (2009) ... Benjo
  4. Gagambino (2008) ... Stalin
  5. Kamandag (2007) ... King Dinggol
  6. Win Win Win (2007) ... Host
  7. Fantastic Man (2007) ... Gobo
  8. Lupin (2007) ... Generoso / Jenny
  9. Etheria (2005) ... Wahid
  10. My Guardian Abby (2005)
  11. Encantadia (2005) ... Wahid
  12. Naks! (2004) ... Host
  13. Lagot Ka... Isusumbong Kita (2004) ... Junior
  14. Narito Ang Puso Ko (2003) ... Boyong
  15. Kool Ka Lang (2001) ... Jie

News

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  2. 2011-12-07: Sad Christmas for Iza Nel Alejandrino
  3. 2011-12-06: Huge line-up Bong De Leon
  4. 2011-12-05: Ruffa, ginutom ang sarili Jun Lalin
  5. 2011-12-02: Lovi, sa kotse na lang natutulog minsan Ipe, muntik nang mabulag Jun Lalin
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