- Venancio Johnson Paras Jr.
October 02, 1968 (age 52)
- Basketball player, Actor, Comedian
- Lyxen Diomampo
Venancio Johnson Paras, Jr. (born October 2, 1968), better known as Benjie Paras, is a Filipino actor and a former professional basketball player 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
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
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 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".
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.