Rain or Shine official reveals San Miguel approach as Paul Lee nears free agency
Rain or Shine guard Paul Lee's stock has risen after his splendid season in the PBA as well as his heroics for Gilas Pilipinas in the last Fiba Asia Cup in Wuhan, China. Jerome Ascano

PAUL Lee has no doubt become the hottest commodity in the free agent market, attracting interest from PBA teams after a splendid season with Rain or Shine and the Gilas Pilipinas national team.

Count San Miguel Beer among those interested.

According to a high-ranking Rain or Shine official, the team has been approached by former San Miguel Corp. sports director Noli Eala to inquire about possible trades during the Elasto Painters' PBA Governors Cup title series against San Mig Super Coffee last month.

“Nilapitan niya (Eala) kami at hinihingi nga si Paul Lee," said the Rain or Shine official who asked not to be named. "Pero sabi namin, hindi namin bibitawan si Paul, bibigyan nga namin ng magandang offer (for renewal).”

Eala used to run the basketball operations of the three teams under the SMC umbrella until he was moved to another position involving the company's infrastructure projects. But the Rain or Shine approach has triggered talk that he may be back in some capacity with the organization.

On the other hand, the interest on Lee is no longer surprising, considering the season the former University of the East star has had with Rain or Shine aside from his heroics in his Gilas debut in the last Fiba Asia Cup in Wuhan, China.

Lee, the second pick overall of the 2011 rookie draft, will be a restricted free agent when his Rain or Shine contract expires on August 31.

Lee's agent, Lawrence Chongson, said the player is due for a big contract.

“Sa batch ng 2011 draft, tingin ko nga mas lamang pa (sa suweldo) kay Paul yung ibang mga nabunot sa kanya sa third, fourth at fifth pick,” said Chongson while rattling off the names of San Miguel Beer players Chris Lutz (third pick), Marcio Lassiter (fourth) and Mark Barroca (fifth).

“Si Paul ba hindi deserving na sumabay sa mga stars ng PBA ngayon in terms of financial remuneration?” added the flamboyant head coach of the PBA D-League team Boracay Rhum.

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