Benjie Paras

Venancio Johnson Paras Jr. (born October 2, 1968), better known as Benjie Paras, is a Filipino actor, comedian, and a retired professional basketball player who played for Shell Turbo Chargers and San Miguel Beermen of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA). He is the only PBA player to win both Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player honors, in a single season (1989). As its star center, Paras led the Shell Turbo Chargers to championship titles.

Benjie Paras
Benjie Paras NBA Asia Challenge 2010.jpg
Paras in 2010
Personal information
Born (1968-10-02) October 2, 1968 (age 53)
Caloocan, Philippines
NationalityFilipino
Listed height6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Listed weight220 lb (100 kg)
Career information
High schoolSan Beda College
CollegeUniversity of the Philippines
PBA draft1989 Round: 1 / Pick: 1st overall
Selected by the Formula Shell
Playing career1989–2003
PositionCenter
Career history
As player:
1989–2002Shell Turbo Chargers
2002–2003San Miguel Beermen
As coach:
2012–2019San Beda Red Lions (assistant)
2019–2020UP Fighting Maroons (assistant)
Career highlights and awards
As player:

As assistant coach:

Medals
Men’s basketball
Representing  Philippines
Asian Games
Silver medal – second place 1990 Beijing Team competition

Early careerEdit

High schoolEdit

Paras played on San Beda Red Cubs together with Ronnie Magsanoc and Eric Altamirano.

CollegiateEdit

Paras suited up for UP Fighting Maroons, in the UAAP. In 1986, they won UAAP championship together with Magsanoc, Altamirano, Joey Guanio, and future UP champion head coach Goldwin Monteverde under the guidance of Joe Lipa.[1][2]

Professional careerEdit

Shell Turbo Chargers (1989–2002)Edit

Drafted by the Shell Turbo Chargers[3] in 1989, Paras, aptly nicknamed "The Tower of Power", played in the PBA with ball-handling, powerful rebounding, deft mid-range shooting, well-timed shot blocks and the uncanny ability for inside scoring. Although Shell did not win any titles 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.[4] Paras, as of 2020, is the only PBA player to have done this feat.

In 1990, Paras would lead Shell to their first Open Conference title by defeating Anejo Rhum in a championship series[5] that finished in 6 games, the climax featured a walkout by Anejo players. In 1991, Shell and Ginebra would meet again in the Finals of the Reinforced Conference. Paras and the Turbo 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.

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 it back to the Finals until the 1996 Commissioner's Cup, thanks in part to import Kenny Redfield and supporting casts such as Peter Naron, Richie Ticzon, Victor Pablo, and Jojo Lim. In 1996, they battled the grandslam seeking Alaska Aces, then known as the Alaska Milkmen, in an unbelievable seven-game series which Alaska won. Paras was also a contender to win the MVP in the 1996 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-American 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.

San Miguel Beermen (2002–2003)Edit

During the 2000s, Paras played in 44 games and had ongoing injuries. In 2003, Paras ended his basketball career. However, he returned later in the year, suiting up for San Miguel Beer before retiring once again at the end of the season. Paras accumulated 10,322 career points throughout his 574 games.[6]

National team careerEdit

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

Coaching careerEdit

In 2013, Paras returned to basketball as an assistant coach for the San Beda Red Lions.[7] In 2014, Paras became one of the members of the PBA Legends Team that played in Asia Tour Singapore.[8]

Acting careerEdit

Paras retired in 2003, ending his 14-year career with the Philippine Basketball Association and became an actor.[9] He recently played for NBA Asia Challenge in 2011 with his fellow former and current PBA Stars and NBA Stars.

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 was 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 (now TV5) game show, WinWinWin. In 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 and Jolina Magdangal. Benjie Paras also worked with boxer Manny Pacquiao in a GMA 7 Sitcom, Show Me Da Manny. Paras was 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. Benjie returns to drama again via Bantatay which he plays Jace Ventura, a pet detective. Benjie is now on his former show a horror-comedy anthology, Spooky Nights Presents: The Ringtone. Benjie returns to comedy again and his 4th fantaserye Alice Bungisngis And Her Wonder Walis in 2012.

Paras played as the best friend of Vic Sotto in the movie 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.

In mid-2012, Benjie Paras returned to the drama again in a romantic teleserye One True Love.

Personal lifeEdit

Paras is married to Lyxen Diomampo, a former pre-school teacher and commercial model. They have two sons, Riley and Sam, and a daughter, Georja. Paras had two sons[10] from a previous marriage, Andre and Kobe;[11] both have basketball careers and started playing for La Salle Greenhills basketball team in grade school. André is also an actor at GMA 7, while Kobe played in the US NCAA Division I having played collegiate ball for the Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska,[12] the California State University, Northridge.[13] and for UP Fighting Maroons.[14] Kobe currently plays for Niigata Albirex BB in Japan.

FilmographyEdit

TV ShowsEdit

MoviesEdit

  • Last Two Minutes (Regal Entertainment, 1989) - Benjie's Debut Movie
  • May Isang Tsuper Ng Taxi (FPJ Productions, 1990)
  • Bulag, Pipi At Bingi (Regal Entertainment, 1993)
  • Dunkin Donato (Moviestars Production Inc. 1993)
  • Mga Siyanong Parak (Regal Entertainment, 1993)
  • Greggy en' Boogie: Sakyan mo na lang, Anna (Regal Entertainment, 1994)
  • Exodus: Tales From Enchanted Kingdom (Ignite Media Productions & Imus Productions, 2005) - Benjie's 1st Action Movie
  • Resiklo (Imus Productions, 2007)
  • My Best Friend's Girlfriend (GMA Films & Regal Entertainment, 2008)
  • My Only U! (Star Cinema, 2008)
  • Iskul Bukol 20 Years After (M-Zet/APT Entertainment/OctoArts Films, 2008)
  • Wapakman (Solar Entertainment, 2009)
  • Ang Panday (GMA Films, 2009)
  • Si Agimat At Si Enteng Kabisote (GMA Films/M-Zet/APT Entertainment/OctoArts Films/Imus Productions, 2010)
  • Ang Panday 2 (GMA Films, 2011)
  • My Lady Boss (GMA Films, 2012)
  • Ibong Adarna: The Pinoy Adventure (Gurion Entertainment, 2014)
  • Past Tense (Star Cinema, 2014)
  • Papa's Boy (CMB Productions, 2015)
  • Wang Fam (Viva Films, 2015) - Benjie's 1st VIVA Films Movie
  • Lumayo Ka Nga Sa Akin (Viva Films, 2016) - post production
  • Dear Future Husband (Viva Films & Star Cinema, 2017) - pre production
  • Barbi: D' Wonder Beki (OctoArts Films & APT Entertainment, 2017)
  • Mang Kepweng 2: Ang Lihim Ng Bandanang Itim (Star Cinema & CineKo Productions, 2020)
  • And I Love You So (ABS-CBN, 2015)

Awards and achievementsEdit

PBAEdit

  • 4x PBA Champion (1990, 1992, 1998 & 1999)
  • 2-time Most Valuable Player (1989 & 1999)
  • Rookie of the Year (1989)
  • 5-time Mythical First Team Selection (1989, 1990, 1991, 1995 & 1999)
  • 3-time Mythical Second Team Selection (1992, 1994 & 1996)
  • Best Player of the Conference (1999 Commissioner's Cup)
  • Comeback Player of the Year (1999)
  • Eight-time PBA All-Star
  • 2-time PBA All-Star Game Most Valuable Player (1994 & 1999)
  • PBA's 25 Greatest Players of All-Time

Philippine national teamEdit

  • Member of the 1990 Asian Games national team (Silver Medal)

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Fun fact: Goldwin played for last coach to lead UP Maroons to a title". Spin.ph. Retrieved May 22, 2022.
  2. ^ "Can UP Maroons fulfill their date with destiny?". Spin.ph. Retrieved May 22, 2022.
  3. ^ Laureta, Isabelle (November 29, 2013). "The layups and laughs in Benjie Paras' life". GMA News. Philippines. Retrieved October 27, 2015.
  4. ^ Jugado, Michael Angelo (November 2, 2013). "The best and worst draft classes in PBA history". Rappler. Philippines. Retrieved October 27, 2015.
  5. ^ Leongson, Randolph (April 24, 2012). "Benjie Paras sees greatness in latest reunion with an old teammate". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Philippines. Retrieved October 27, 2015.
  6. ^ "Remember the 'Tower of Power'". Shell Turbo Chargers. Archived from the original on March 17, 2006. Retrieved July 2, 2021.
  7. ^ Gasgonia, Dennis (September 27, 2013). "Benjie Paras returns to basketball". ABS-CBN News. Philippines. Retrieved October 27, 2015.
  8. ^ "Former PBA stars to play in Singapore". Manila Bulletin. Philippines. August 11, 2014. Retrieved October 27, 2015.[permanent dead link]
  9. ^ Ballesteros, Jan (June 20, 2015). "Benjie Paras guides sons in showbiz, basketball". CNN Philippines. Philippines. Retrieved October 27, 2015.
  10. ^ "Andre, Kobe have touching messages for dad Benjie". ABS-CBN News. Philippines. October 3, 2015. Retrieved October 27, 2015.
  11. ^ Almo, Alder (October 12, 2014). "Benjie Paras to son Kobe: Be humble, continue to improve". The Philippine Star. Philippines. Retrieved October 27, 2015.
  12. ^ "Boys' basketball: Kobe Paras is headed to Creighton". Los Angeles Times. July 18, 2016.
  13. ^ "Paras to transfer from Creighton to Northridge". May 10, 2017.
  14. ^ Lozada, Bong (July 11, 2018). "Kobe Paras joins UP Maroons". INQUIRER.net. Retrieved May 22, 2022.

External linksEdit