Benjie Paras

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Venancio "Benjie" Paras, Jr.
Benjie Paras NBA Asia Challenge 2010.jpg
No. 14
Center
Personal information
Born (1968-10-02) October 2, 1968 (age 46)
Caloocan City, Metro Manila, Philippines
Nationality Filipino
Listed height 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)
Listed weight 220 lb (100 kg)
Career information
College University of the Philippines
PBA draft 1989 Round: 1 / Pick: 1st overall
Selected by the Formula Shell
Pro career 19892003
Career history
1989–2002 Shell Turbo Chargers
2002–2003 San Miguel Beermen
Career highlights and awards
  • 2x PBA MVP (1989, 1999)
  • PBA Rookie of the Year (1989)
  • PBA Slam Dunk Team Co-Champion (w/ Elmer Lago) (1995)
  • PBA Comeback Player of the Year (1999)
  • 5x PBA Mythical First Team (1989-1991, 1995, 1999)
  • 3x PBA Mythical Second Team (1992, 1994, 1996)
  • PBA All-Star (1989-1992, 1994-1999)
  • PBA All-Star Most Valuable Player (1994, 1999)
  • Only PBA Player to win the Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year at the same time

Venancio Johnson Paras, Jr. (born October 2, 1968), better known as Benjie Paras, is a Filipino actor 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.

The Rookie from UP[edit]

Drafted by the Shell Turbo Chargers 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 his team 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. Benjie Paras was the only PBA player to have done this feat.

Paras as a Turbo Charger[edit]

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.[1]

Awards[edit]

  • 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

Other Basketball Highlights:

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

Career developments[edit]

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

In mid-2012, Benjie Paras returns the drama again as a romantic teleserye One True Love starring Alden Richards and Louise delos Reyes as a versatile actor.

Personal life[edit]

Paras is married to Lyxen Diomampo, a former preschool teacher and commercial model. They have two sons, Riley, and Sam. Paras had two sons from previous celebrity partner Jackie Forster with 2 sons, Andre and Kobe, both have already started their basketball careers as well. They were in grade school (2006) when they first became a part of the La Salle Greenhills, Andre is now playing Basketball at UP for the Fighting Maroons, and Kobe is now in America playing Highschool ball but recently played for the La Salle Green Hills Greenies.[2]

Filmography[edit]

TV shows[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Kenneth Duremdes
PBA Best Player of the Conference Award - Commissioner's Cup
1999
Succeeded by
Danny Ildefonso