During the off-season prior to the start of the 2014-2015 PBA games, the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters were still unsure if they would have Paul Lee in the team’s fold as the squad and the backcourt gunner reportedly experienced problems with contract negotiations.
After all the hullabaloo, the smoke finally settled and Lee made sure to prove the Elasto Painters that they made the right decision.
It was a two-way process.
The team kept one of its best assets and unarguably one of the top players in the league today, while Lee stayed in a group where he would have a home and a great chance of succeeding.
In the Commissioner’s Cup, Lee has been on a roll, averaging 16.8 PPG, 5.8 RPG, and 3.2 APG including 90.2 percent shooting from the foul line, proving both him and the team have made the right call.
“It is a validation of the decision that the management has made to keep faith in him, despite of all the things that have happened,” Rain or Shine head coach Yeng Guiao said after the Elasto Painters advanced to the Commissioner’s Cup finals. “Sabihin na nating nagkaroon ng obstacles sa completion ng kanyang contract but after that, things fell into place.”
True enough, Lee, one of the top candidates for Best Player of the Conference, has carried his team in many ways. Whether he was hitting the clutch three or making difficult baskets that matter or giving an extra voice inside the locker room, Paul Lee made his presence known.
His 20 PPG, 3 RPG, 3 APG on 50 percent shooting from three-point land numbers in the semifinals are further proof that more than his game, relationship with his club is better than ever.
“The way he is playing right now is a result of wala na siyang inaalalang mga insecurities or decisions to make. When he made that final decision to stay, na-settle na lahat yun,” Guiao added.
“This is an accomplishment and an improvement compared to last year. We just have to wait for the result of the other series and having those extra two to three days of rest will be helpful.”
Lee is the validation, and with a stable bond, he and his team are continuing to make great strides.