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PBA: 2 years, not 3 for Lee

PAUL Lee and Yeng Guiao

In the end, nobody needed Vito Corleone or Luca Brasi.

On his own accord, Paul Lee made it official: He’s still part of Rain or Shine.

However, there remained a twist in the ROS-Lee reunion after Lee’s camp renegotiated a deal and signed a two-year maximum contract worth P10.08 million yesterday at the company’s main office in Pasig City.

Braving the inclement weather and flooded streets, Lee, accompanied by Lawrence Chongson – his former coach at University of the East – met with ROS official Mamerto Mondragon, a former league chairman and the team representative to the PBA Board of Governors.

Rain or Shine actually had a three-year offer worth P15.1 million with a similar maximum monthly salary of P420, 000 on the table, but the camp of Lee asked if they could sign for two years instead.

Mondragon immediately granted the wish.

“They have a valid reason. They said that the maximum salary might go up again after two years. So they’re keeping that option open,” Mondragon told TEMPO in a telephone interview.

Lee, 25, actually has every reason to keep his options open with regards to his contract after his experience as a rookie when he signed the maximum allowable contract that gave him P337,500 on his third and final year instead of the current maximum P420,000.

At that time, a few days after Rain or Shine selected him with the No. 2 overall pick during the 2010 PBA Rookie Draft and Lee signed the contract, the PBA board approved the maximum salary of P350, 000 to P420, 000.

“Actually there’s no issue. At the end of the day, after his two-year contract, we’ll still have Lee’s rights and we can offer him again a new deal. So that’s fine with us,” said Mondragon.

For his part, Lee can now heave a sigh of relief following this unforgettable experience where he first asked for a trade prior to the end of his previous deal, then had a change of heart and reportedly told ROS coach Yeng Guiao he will stay. He was a no-show, however, when he arrived last Sept. 6 from Spain after his stint with Gilas Pilipinas, fueling yet another round of speculations.

Lee finally patched things up with Guiao at the NEGA gym in San Juan.

In text messages showing that things were OK between them, the two exchanged several hilarious text messages to the question “Did you get anything for your coach from Spain?”

And vice versa. Guiao’s reply: Wala! Sakit ng ulo pala. Pwede na ginseng (from Korea). Hehe.”

Lee’s answer: “May pasalubong ako shampoo LOL.”

Another sign that all is well with Rain or Shine and Lee was the affectionate hug given the player by the mother of team owner Raymond Yu, Margaret Yu, who is fondly called “Mommy Yu.”

Yu was actually waiting for Lee and Chongson at the office but had to leave for another appointment. Co-owner Terry Que failed to make it because of the weather.

Lee even posted a photo on his Intagram account @lethalweapon03 showing the contract. He later said in a text message, “OK na ako! Naka-pirma na.”