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With Lee’s return, ROS to unload guards

RANIDEL De Ocampo, Paul Lee and KG Canaleta

With Paul Lee’s decision to stay with Rain or Shine, veteran coach Yeng Guaio is facing what he calls a “reality” for the team to unload players due to the surplus of guards this pre-season.

The other day, the 6-foot-1 Lee visited the Rain or Shine practice session and he expressed to Guiao his decision to stay, ending weeks of speculation that he is on his way to another team via trade.

Lee has yet to sign a new three-year offer worth P15.1 million, but his spot in the ROS roster is already secured since the former PBA Rookie of the Year is one of the main players of the Elasto Painters the past three years.

Aside from Lee, Guiao told The Bulletin yesterday that the other Gilas Pilipinas ‘boys’ Jeff Chan, Gabe Norwood and Beau Belga would also be retained since they are mainstays of the ROS organization.

Outside of the ‘core four’ though, there’s no assurance on the other players.

“We don’t have a decision on yet, or names that are mentioned,” said Guiao. “I actually can’t tell even on top of my mind who is a candidate for trade or who is a candidate to be retained.”

A decision, Guiao said, can only be made once Lee formally signs the contract because that would give them a clearer picture to assess the team’s composition for the PBA’s 40th Season starting October 19.

“Our first move is to sign Paul. The paper work has not been done yet, and we want formalities to be over and done. After that, then we’ll discuss the overload of guards we have on our team,” said Guiao.

“I guess we have to face the reality to inload, or trade some of our guards. But there’s no decision yet. The coaching staff, the management, of course the owners will meet to discuss it,” he added.

For now, Guiao said that all are just speculations, including one that says Chris Tiu and rookie Kevin Alas – the No. 2 overall pick in the previous PBA Rookie Draft – are on the trading block.

Aside from Lee, Chan, Norwood, Tiu and Alas, the guard rotation of Rain or Shine includes veterans Ryan Arana, TY Tang, Jonathan Uyloan, incoming sophomore Jeric Teng and rookie Jericho Cruz.