Fit-again Paul Lee doesn't mind playing supporting role as he rounds into form
Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao expects Paul Lee to play a bigger role in the semifinal series against SMB as he slowly rounds into top form. Jaime Campos

PAUL Lee has yet to fully recover from the knee injury that has kept him out for most of this PBA season.

And so for the moment, Lee is content trying to do the little things which could help Rain or Shine makes it back to the finals of the Commissioner’s Cup.

The star guard kept a low profile and deferred to his teammates in the Elasto Painters’ big come-from-behind 98-94 victory over San Miguel in the opener of their best-of-five semifinals series on Sunday.

Lee had a quiet eight points spiked with six rebounds, and three assists while playing 28 minutes in the inspiring win that gave the team a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five affair.

But the 27-year-old pride of Tondo said he doesn’t mind playing a supporting role to his teammates at a time when he's still trying to get back in top shape after being sidelined by a partial tear on the lateral meniscus and ITB (Iliotibial Band) tendon on his knee.

“Just doing other things like setting up shooters, sina Jeff (Chan) and Maverick (Ahanmisi), and playing defense. So malaking bagay yun,” the soft-spoken Lee said.

“Struggle pa rin e, pero at least yung presence mo andun.”

[See IN PHOTOS: Rain or Shine shows it's a legit threat to SMB grand slam dream]

Just before the series against the Beermen started, the former University of the East star said he had a talk with coach Yeng Guiao on his possible role and the things he had to do for the team as he tries to regain top form.

“Alam naman niya (Guiao) yung sitwasyon ko. Nagsabi naman ako sa kanya, so alam niya kung paano ako gamitin ngayon,” said Lee.

The Rain or Shine coach acknowledged there was conscious effort to sit Lee in the latter part of the eliminations and in the early phase of the playoffs to keep him fresh and ready for the semis.

“We’ve been saving Paul for this series. We’ve been giving him the minutes now,” said Guiao. “We tried to rest him the last couple of games hoping he’ll give us good minutes in the series, and he’s giving us good minutes now.”

Unlike before, Lee said he no longer felt any pain shortly after the game against San Miguel. And that’s basically good news, he reiterated.

“I felt okay today after the game,” he said. “Okay lang din naman kahit anong ibigay (nilang role) sa akin. I just need to be always ready.”

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