Tab Baldwin glad to have Lassiter, Norwood around as Paul Lee formally pulls out
Paul Lee (right) pulling out is a 'misfortune' for Gilas, says coach Tab Baldwin. Jerome Ascano

GILAS Pilipinas coach Tab Baldwin rued the sudden unavailability of Paul Lee in national pool that’s preparing for the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in July.

Lee has formally begged off from national duty due to a slow-healing injury on his left knee, informing his situation to Baldwin on Tuesday morning when he reported for practice for the first time since leading Rain or Shine to the PBA Commissioner’s Cup title last week.

“We all saw what he’s capable of doing in the finals, but as for Gilas, that’s a misfortune for us because I said to him that we could certainly use you skill set and the way he was playing in the finals, I think he would be an asset for the team,” Baldwin said.

“But we don’t have it, so I’m not going to sit around, crying over spilled milk,” the national coach was quick to add. “It’s reality. It happens every single year. Hardly ever in my career have I gone in to a season or campaign with a fully healthy team. It’s part and parcel of being in sports.”

The absence of Lee has left Jayson Castro, Terrence Romeo, and LA Tenorio, and Kiefer Ravena as the pure point guards Baldwin can choose from

“We just wish him the best,” Baldwin said of Lee. “He’s a fallen brother and I hope that he gets back on his feet as soon as possible. As for Gilas, we’ll move on.”

Baldwin stuck to the positives of practice on Tuesday, where Gabe Norwood and Marcio Lassiter suited up for the first time.

“The story of the day is we took another step forward,” Baldwin said. “We got Gabe and Marcio on the court. We certainly don’t want a negative issue to be the story of the day.

“I feel good about our training today and I thought it was very positive and I expect to keep getting positive training sessions,” he added.

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