Paul Lee pays respect to ninong Yeng Guiao - then proceeds to dismantle his NLEX side
Paul Lee and longtime coach Yeng Guiao find themselves on opposite sides for the first time in an official PBA game. Jaime Campos

NOTHING personal as far as Paul Lee is concerned in his first meeting with former coach Yeng Guiao.

It’s just the urgency to win for Star that made him showcase his best game so far in the PBA Philippine Cup Wednesday night against an NLEX side handled by his wedding godfather.

Lee fired a team-high 20 points and triggered the scoring spurt that clinched for the Hotshots their first victory in the season-opening meet, 99-75, at the expense of the NLEX Road Warriors at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The five-year combo guard had 13 of his output in the payoff period, which he highlighted with three timely three-pointers.

He scored eight straight in one stretch of the quarter, including back-to-back treys to thwart a Road Warriors rally and give the Hotshots a commanding 87-71 lead.

Lee later said it was a relief to see Star finally register a win this season even if it came at the expense of Guiao, his former mentor at Rain or Shine where they won two championships together.

“Ngayon nasa NLEX team siya, andito ako sa Star. Ginawa lang namin yung trabaho namin,” said the ‘Lee-thal Weapon.’

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As a sign of respect for the man who helped mold his game in the pro league, Lee approached Guiao over at the NLEX bench before the game to kiss his hand.

There was neither trash talking nor any fireworks that occurred between them during the game.

“Wala naman room para doon, di ba? Mas importante sa akin yung panalo,” he said.

Lee did admit he has finally gotten used to seeing himself and Guiao no longer under the same team, although sometimes he still feels a little bit weird watching on television his former coach calling the shots for the Road Warriors.

“Pag may game sila minsan napapanood ko, na parang weird na nandito ako sa bahay at tapos andun siya. Yun lang ang feeling,” said the Star veteran guard.

Asked by if he missed Guiao’s regular tirade at the bench, Lee jokingly said being pleased he no longer undergoes such process.

In jest, he then extended good luck wishes to the Road Warriors.

“Masaya kasi hindi na ako part ng nasisigawan niya,” said Lee. “Pero maha-handle din nila yan, masasanay din sila. Ganyan din naman kami nung start.

“Alam ninyo naman ang mangyayari kapag na-handle nila yan at nakuha nila yung sistema ni coach Yeng. Alam ninyo na ang mangyayari sa kanila.”


Follow the writer on Twitter: @gerardmos