SEVILLE, SPAIN – The Fiba World Cup campaign over and done with, Gilas Pilipinas guard Paul Lee heads back to Manila to hopefully sort out his contract situation with Rain or Shine.
Lee’s trade demand has become big news back home while he was away with Gilas in a six-week journey that culminated with the Philippines’ first victory in the world championships in 40 decades.
The former Rookie of the Year admitted he had not talked to anyone from management when his adviser, Lawrence Chongson, made the trade demand on his behalf, but admitted opening up to Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao in an overseas conversation a week ago.
However, Lee said he will head straight to Rain or Shine’s practice the moment he arrives in Manila on Saturday and is willing to listen to what Guiao has to say.
“Pagdating na pagdating ko sa Maynila, didiretso ako sa ensayo. Maguusap kami ni Coach Yeng,” said Lee, currently a restricted free agent after his three-year deal with Rain or Shine expired at the end of August.
“Sinasabi nga ni Coach Yeng, lahat madadaan sa magandang usapan,” added the former Rookie of the Year. “Kung may kailangang sabihin or kailangan mag-usap bago gumawa ng desisyon, alam na lahat ng dahilan.”
Lee’s agent has turned down a three-year maximum deal worth P15.12million from Rain or Shine, but reiterated his camp’s denial that he is in negotiations with any other ballclub, particularly the Gilas backers of Manny V. Pangilinan.
“Wala akong kausap na iba,” Lee said. “Unfair namang sabihin na kinakausap nila (Manny V. Pangilinan group) ako dahil magakakasama kami dito.”
The six-foot guard, who made a huge impact in his first tournament with Gilas, also denied he is no longer happy in the Rain or Shine camp.
It’s exactly the opposite, he insisted.
“Masaya siyempre, iba ang samahan namin sa team. Wala akong masabi doon,” said Lee, who also talked briefly with Rain or Shine governor Atty. Mert Mondragon during a dinner on Thursday night which Pangilinan tendered for the team.
Lee also insisted he didn’t let his messy contract situation get in his head as he played for Gilas, beginning with the training camp in Miami down to the World Cup in Spain.
“Hindi ako nagpa-apekto,” he said. “Lahat naman kami, may personal na problema, so dapat hindi mo na iniisip yon.”