After expressing a desire to be traded, controversial point guard Paul Lee has a change of heart.
He is staying with Rain or Shine.
Sources said yesterday that the 6-foot-1 Lee actually already made a decision last week but has kept mum on the issue since – at that time – he was still focused with Gilas Pilipinas in the FIBA World Cup in Seville, Spain.
Two persons with knowledge of Lee’s decision to stay confirmed to The Bulletin that the former University of the East stalwart will indeed continue playing for the Elasto Painters starting in the PBA’s 40th Season.
“He’ll stay with ROS,” said a source, who requested not to be named as Lee has to formally make an official announcement regarding that after he initially asked to be traded to another team.
Another person who has knowledge with Lee’s decision said that it was last week when he made up his mind after consulting other individuals, particularly those who are close to him even while he was in Spain.
Lee arrived last Saturday with several other players, including his Rain or Shine teammates Jeff Chan and Beau Belga. Following the game of Gilas Pilipinas versus Senegal last Thursday.
After that game won by the national team in overtime, 81-79, to register its first World Cup victory in 40 years, Lee reportedly said that he will visit Rain or Shine’s practice session once he returns home.
Lee was also quoted that he also wants to have a ‘heart-to-heart’ talk with ROS mentor Yeng Guiao, whom he considers like a father. Asked to comment on Lee’s change of heart, Guiao said that what the whole team wants, including the owners Raymond Yu and terry Que.
“On of the reasons – may be – why he treats me like a father is because he knows that I’m actually concerned of his own welfare. This is not for me, this is for him, for his own good,” said Guiao.
Through his manager, former UE Coach Lawrence Chongson, Lee announced his desire to be traded to another team at the end of his three-year contract with ROS, which expired last Aug. 31.
Lee made the request despite Rain or Shine’s offer of a new maximum three-year deal worth P15.1 million. In previous interviews, Guiao has said that it is not in the character of Lee to ask for something like that, adding that there night be people manipulating the prized guard from Tondo, Manila.
However, with the latest development, Guiao said it’s not surprising to him that Lee is staying.
“If that is his decision, we’re happy. He knows all along that I want him to stay, owners and management want him to stay, the team wants him to stay,” said Guiao, also a congressman representing the lone district of Pampanga.
“Despite want happened, which maybe just a case of misunderstanding or a miscalculation for his part, I personally don’t take offense on that. If he is indeed staying, marami ang matutuwa,” he added.