Controversial Rain or Shine ace guard Paul Lee is staying with Rain or Shine after all.
After weeks of drama, Lee finally showed up during the ROS practice yesterday and told Coach Yeng Guiao he will be staying with the Asian Coating franchise.
“I was clinging on to his words when he told me before he left for Spain that he’s staying. I asked him that again, and Paul said yes, he is staying,” said Guiao when contacted by The Bulletin yesterday.
Last week, the 6-foot-1 Lee was a no-show at the ROS practice session after declaring in Spain – following his stint with Gilas Pilipinas in the FIBA World Cup – that he will drop by and talk to Guiao as soon as he returns to the country.
That further fueled the assumption from PBA observers that Lee, who asked for a trade prior to the expiration of his three-year contract last Aug. 31, is on his way to another team.
The most recent was when Lee’s agent Lawrence Chongson, his former coach at University of the East, posted an image of his client in a Ginebra uniform on Facebook, and was quoted as saying that he thinks Lee’s style of playing fits the popular team and not Rain or Shine.
However, it was Guiao who kept his faith on Lee and his words.
“At least, now it’s over. The ordeal he, the team have been through. Again Paul told me he is staying. For his peace of mind, and also the supporters of Rain or Shine, this chapter is over. We can move forward,” said Guiao.
Two weeks ago, The Bulletin broke out with the story that Lee – quoting reliable sources – is staying with Rain or Shine, a team that selected him No. 2 overall during the 2010 PBA Rookie Draft.
For his part, the 25-year-old Lee said he’s pleased that the communication lines were restored between him and Guiao, who he considers like a father, and nothing has changed even the way he is treated by his teammates.
Now, it’s up to Chongson and the ROS management to get back to the negotiating table for Lee to sign a contract. Rain or Shine has a three-year offer to the former PBA Rookie of the Year worth P15.1 million.
“Sa amin ni coach Yeng OK na, kailangan na lang mag-usap is yung agent ko and management ng Rain or Shine para matapos na,” said Lee, adding that though there is no timetable for him, he hopes to sign within this week before he flies with the rest of Gilas Pilipinas to South Korea for the Incheon Asian Games.
“Sa tingin ko naman maayos na to. Sinabi naman ni coach na gusto nya ako ma-retain, and sinabi ko din na gusto ko mag-stay,” said Lee, who developed his skills under Guiao to become one of the elite players in the PBA.
Guiao said he understands the feelings of Lee when he decided not to show up a week ago, but explained to the players that his no-show only led to criticism against him and his way of handling the issue.
Guiao also explained to Lee the events why it led to this what many think were a contract mess, when it’s not. However, the two agreed not to dwell on the past and the negativity that comes with it, instead focus on the future.
“The important thing is that Paul has made a decision to stay. Of course, he still needs to sign the contract,” said Guiao, adding that he will make a recommendation to the management to fast track the contract signing of Lee.
On the other hand, it was Chongson, whose attention was called by PBA Commissioner Chito Salud last Monday to talk to ROS whether or not Lee is staying or not, who was a no-show in the meeting.
Still, Guiao said he still wants to meet with the controversial agent of Lee, simply to patch things up.
“I was surprised that he (Chongson) was not there because my anticipation is nandun sya. Sa totoo lang maski nagkausap na kami ni Paul OK pa din sa akin na magkausap kami ni Lawrence e, mas maganda nga yun,” said Guiao.