THE contract saga involving Rain or Shine and hotshot guard Paul Lee is far from over, but agent Lawrence Chongson already has a fairly good idea where his prized ward can be a perfect fit.
The controversial coach and manager caused a stir on Facebook when he posted an edited photo of the PBA free agent in a Barangay Ginebra uniform then, despite Rain or Shine crying foul, said he feels Lee's playing style is a perfect fit for the Gin Kings' never-say-die image.
“Yung laro naman ni Paul pang Ginebra eh. Dito lumaki sa bansa, 'yung angas niya parang mga dating players ng Ginebra, di ba?” Chongson told Spin.ph. “Hindi ko pa alam sa basketball ha pero sa image… bagay. Angas ng Tondo, tapos Ginebra, di ba?”
Chongson's latest antics once again riled Rain or Shine officials and further strained negotiations for a contract renewal, which are already very tense after Lee failed to meet with team officials upon his return from Gilas Pilipinas' campaign in the Fiba World Cup last week, just as he had promised.
However, Chongson said that he was only expressing a personal preference when made the Lee-Ginebra links, even if the long-haired coach of Boracay Rum in the D-League admits that he is no Robert Jaworski fan since he was a big supporter of Crispa growing up.
“Ayaw ko ng Ginebra, bata pa ko. Crispa ako eh. Ayaw ko ng Toyota, bata pa lang ako hindi na ko Jaworski fan eh,” he said. “Sabi ko sa iyo kung ako lang, for me personally, Lawrence Chongson, ayaw ko siya sa Ginebra.”
But Chongson said he was heartened by the clamor of Ginebra fans on social media to bring Lee to the Kings camp.
“Siguro the last one week, `yung kwarentang mga bagong follower ko sa Facebook… chineck ko, puro fans ng Ginebra. Pero siguro para kay Paul na ito eh,” said Chongson.
“Gusto siya ng Ginebra fans eh. Ang dami kong nakakausap na gusto si Paul sa Ginebra. Sabi nga ng mga fans ng Ginebra, ibigay na raw sa kanila … aalagaan raw nila. Dun ako natutuwa.
“Yung messages ng mga fans ng Ginebra, dun lumalakas ang loob ko. Kasi puro mura sa akin ang Rain or Shine fans… Eh kaso itong dagundong ng fans ng Ginebra, ramdam mo ang bagsak eh.
“Ikaw sige, tanungin ko… ‘Hindi maganda sa Ginebra si Paul Lee?’ Siguro babahain ng Ginebra sa Tondo,” he added while stressing that Lee was a certified fan of the league's most popular ballclub growing up.
Asked if his picture post on Facebook had something to do with the rumored negotiations between his camp and an official of San Miguel, Chongson said he was only fascinated by the photo created by a fan named Macky Villena.
“Wala kaming nakakausap (from San Miguel). Rain or Shine lang ang kinakausap namin tungkol kay Paul,” he stressed.
Here's a podcast of the full interview with Chongson:
Lee has just arrived in the country from a short vacation overseas, missing out on Gilas' first practice since the Fiba World Cup on Saturday night.
Chongson refused to divulge where his ward went, but a Spin.ph source bared Lee and a companion went to Singapore and Hong Kong, where they were met by Chongson.
They returned to the country on Sunday morning.
As to when he and Rain or Shine will start talking about Lee’s contract renewal, Chongson said the ball is in the hands of team management.
“Eh nasa sa kanila (Rain or Shine) na yun,” he said.