Paul Lee set for return as Rain or Shine aims to break out of early-season funk against KIA
Rain or Shine guard Paul Lee was no more than a spectator in the team's last game against Blackwater due to a hyperextended knee. Dante Peralta

STAR guard Paul Lee marks his return from a one-game absence as Rain or Shine tries to get out of an early-season funk in a match against expansion team KIA Motors in the PBA Philippine Cup on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Lee sat out the Elasto Painters’ come-from-behind 82-75 win over Blackwater last week due to a hyperextended knee he suffered in the second half of the team’s debut game against San Miguel Beer.

But coach Yeng Guiao assured the shooting guard out of University of the East will be ready to play in the team’s 4:15 p.m. duel with the Sorento.

“Paul can play in the next game, but I hope we play better than we did (against Blackwater),” Guiao said.

Rain or Shine struggled from the three-point zone against Blackwater, failing to connect on all its 25 attempts with resident gunner Jeff Chan going 0-of-6 while Beau Belga missed all four of his attempts.

“We haven’t played really well. We played a bad game but we’re lucky to come out winning this one,” Guiao noted.

The Elasto Painters hope to get their acts together against a Sorento side that got its butts kicked by rampaging Barangay Ginebra, 87-55, during the league’s first road game this season held in Lucena.

KIA shot just 26 percent (23-of-88) from the field against Ginebra’s towering frontline.

Reil Cervantes and Rudy Lingganay scored 14 points apiece for the Sorento, though both had to bleed for every point due to the Kings’ unrelenting defense.

KIA can't expect any reprieve from Rain or Shine, considering Guiao’s team has a penchant for playing rugged, physical defense for 48 minutes.

KIA assistant coach Glen Capacio, who will again call the shots in the absence of playing-coach Manny Pacquiao, said he has been preaching to the team the value of hard work, regardless of which opponent it faces.

“Sa defense lang talaga kami aasa so we need to keep on improving,” said Capacio, whose team holds a similar 1-1 win-loss record as Rain or Shine.

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