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LA, Castro rue Lee’s absence

Gilas Pilipinas veterans Jayson Castro and LA Tenorio are one in saying that the absence of Paul Lee is a concern to the national team but they are keeping a positive outlook as practice session continues in preparation for the Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) slated July 5 to 10 here.

Lee has pulled out of the national team training pool, formally informing last Tuesday coach Tab Baldwin of his decision because of a left knee injury he sustained late last year.

Castro, who played with the 6-foot-1 Lee during the FIBA World Cup in Spain two years ago, said that the skill set of the Rain or Shine ace guard fit for an international competition with the latter’s ability to shoot from three-point territory and attack the basket.

“Kita naman natin nung FIBA World, outside or inside kaya nya,” said Castro.

“Hindi naman namin kayang punuan yung pagka-wala ni Paul, pero gagawa at gagawa ng paraan sina coach Tab. Kapag sinabi mong Paul Lee, mahirap palitan yun,” added Castro.

Lee helped RoS win the recently concluded PBA Commissioner’s Cup where he bagged the Finals MVP, but revealed that a partial tear on both the lateral meniscus and ITB (Iliotibial Band) tendons has not healed, which caused unnecessary fluids that needed to be drained.

The former PBA Rookie of the Year is scheduled to have fluids drained and at the same time have his third Platelet Rich Plasma or PRP next week, a procedure that would force him out at least six weeks.

“Ganun talaga nangyayari yung injury e,” said Castro, who himself had to skip the Asian Games in South Korea in 2014 because of an ankle injury he sustained after his stint in the World Cup.

“Ang mami-miss namin kay Paul is yung competitiveness nya. Kasi maski sa practice competitive sya. Gusto nya kung ano yung ilalaro nya, ganun din sya sa ensayo. Sa amin naman, kung sino yung mga andito, kailangan mag-trabaho,” added Castro.

Tenorio shares the same sentiments, knowing that Lee would have been a huge addition to the national team in the OQT, where the champion team earns a spot in the Rio Olympics this August.