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PBA: ROS’ goal: Sign up Lee, Belga, Norwood

Rain or Shine management is hoping to finalize the contracts of several more players, including that of Paul Lee, Gabe Norwood and Beau Belga, a team official said yesterday.

Lee, Norwood and Belga were already informed of similar maximum deals approximately worth P15.12 million that is spread over three years, according to ROS governor Mert Mondragon.

“We already mentioned it to Paul,” said Mondragon yesterday. “We’re supposed to meet this week but since Paul’s agent (Lawrence Chongson) is not here, we’ll meet them probably next week.”

“But we’ll forward the proposal so he can review it,” added the ROS official.

The contract negotiation with the three players, together with the other expirees, are now the focal point of management after efforts to keep coach Yeng Guiao failed.

The veteran mentor opted to join NLEX last week.

Guiao coached the team for six years, resulting to two championships. Assistant coach Caloy Garcia, who was the team’s mentor before Guiao signed in late 2010, will call the shots for ROS.

What Rain or Shine management is hoping to avoid is the much-publicized negotiations Lee and the Elasto Painters had back in 2014 when the 6-foot-1 guard initially asked to be traded.

Before things got out of hand, Guiao interceded and was able to convince Lee to sign a two-year contract. Lee helped the team win its second title in the previous Commissioner’s Cup and on the way bagged the PBA Press Corps Finals Most Valuable Player.

However, with Guiao no longer around, it would interesting to see how management would handle the matter.
Mondragon is optimistic that Lee will stay with ROS.

“Of course, sana huwag ng maulit yung nangyari noon. Pero tiwala naman kami magiging maayos ang usapan. Naka-usap ko na siya actually and sabi nga namin na pag-aralan nya (contract),” said Mondragon.

As for Belga, Mondragon said the 6-foot-6 veteran center already approved the contract, and was supposed to meet the management last Saturday but did not show up at the office.

Over the weekend, the team was able to sign up Jericho Cruz to a three-year contract, as well as keep defensive specialist Jireh Ibanes and 6-foot-7 center Raymond Almazan.

Aside from Lee, Norwood and Belga, the team is likewise negotiating with expiring players JR Quinahan, who is asking for a two-year deal after his one-year contract expired, Jewel Ponferada and Ronnie Matias.