Paul Lee-Jayson Castro would've been best backcourt for Gilas, says LA Tenorio
Paul Lee and Jayson Castro would have been the perfect backcourt tandem under Gilas coach Tab Baldwin's system, says veteran guard LA Tenorio. Jerome Ascano

HE may benefit from it individually, yet LA Tenorio admitted Paul Lee's sudden pullout doesn’t help Gilas Pilipinas as a team in any way.

The Ginebra point guard regretted the withdrawal of Lee from the Gilas pool, saying it deprives everyone of seeing a potentially exciting backcourt combination with Jayson Castro in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament under coach Tab Baldwin.

“I think coach Tab could attest to that, na this system is iikot talaga kay Paul Lee at Jayson,” Tenorio admitted on the same day Lee formally begged off from the pool. “Yung dalawang guard ang inaabangan talaga.”

“I think that's the best guard tandem na makikita sana natin kasi di natin nakita sa Fiba Asia yun eh,” he added of the Castro-Lee duo, which only played together in the Fiba World Cup in 2014.

[See Paul Lee pulls out of Gilas pool owing to injury]

Although the unfortunate development gives him a better shot at making the Final 12, Tenorio still would’ve wanted to have Lee at Baldwin’s disposal.

“I'd rather na makasama din si Paul but he has to do the therapy,” Tenorio said. “Sayang, mapapadali sana sa mga leader dito o datihan kasi pag nagsasama-sama kami ng mga yan, dalawa o tatlong practice, ok na kami. Ganun ka-instinctive na pag nagkampi kami, magkakilala na kami automatic.”

[See Baldwin glad to have Lassiter, Norwood around as Lee formally pulls out]

However, the Ginebra star said he has complete faith in the remaining guard candidates in the Gilas pool.

“Meron pa namang ibang options and I'm very confident sa mga natirang guards,” he added. “Kung sino man ang mapapasama sa final twelve is going to be tough and it's still going to be a very talented team.”

“I'm excited pa rin, but sayang because this is not the lineup I'm sure coach Tab is expecting,” the Gilas 2.0 member  said. “Pero wala eh. Kung sino talaga ang nandiyan, as long as everyone is healthy, committed, and dedicated, I think wala tayong magiging problema.”

Castro echoed Tenorio’s sentiments.

“Hindi naman natin mapupunan pero gagawa at gagawa ng paraan si coach at ibang players na punan yun,” the Tropang TNT star said. “Kasi pag sinabi mong Paul Lee, mahirap palitan yun, ‘di ba?”

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos