RETURNING to the country for the first time in two years, Arizona Reid noticed one "big difference" between the Rain or Shine team he played for before and the current E-Painters squad.
He's none other than Paul Lee.
"That guy is really good," the returning Rain or Shine import said as he marvelled at last season's Rookie of the Year, who he will be playing with for the first time when the PBA Governors Cup gets going next month.
“Paul’s a difference-maker,” added the 27-year-old import. “He’s got big body, a really good player. I think he’ll be one of the best (PBA) players in the years to come.”
Reid and Lee will have to carry much of the load for the E-Painters in the early stages of the tournament with three of their teammates having little time to work with the team due to their commitment with Gilas Pilipinas.
The three - Jeff Chan, Gabe Norwood, and Beau Belga - are all with the Gilas team seeing action in the Fiba-Asia Men’s Championship. The qualifier for next year’s World Basketball Championship starts on August 1 and ends on August 11, three days before the start of the league’s third conference.
Although Belga failed to make the final cut of the national team, he will remain with Gilas and serves as alternate.
Still, Reid is up to the task.
“There’s no pressure. I’m prepared. And whatever I do, I’ll do even without the guys yet. Because the name of the game is whoever gets more wins (wins the PBA title),” Reid told Spin.ph. on Friday.
The 6-foot-5 Reid has already been practicing with the reigning Governors Cup champions Elasto Painters since last week at the North East Greenhills gym in San Juan.
The 2011 Governors Cup Best Import said he’s aware of the compact schedule of the season-ending meet, where each team will play only nine games, after which, the top four teams will earn twice-to-beat advantage heading into the quarterfinals.
“My mindset is to take it one game at a time. I’m focused on the task at hand because we can’t overlook any team in the tournament. So our goal is to make it first to the top four so you can get the twice-to-beat,” explained Reid, who is coming off an impressive 25-game stint with Benetton Fribourg Olympic in Switzerland’s professional league.
The High Point alumnus averaged 15.5 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 2.2 assists in 30.4 minutes of play in 25 games, as Benetton fell one win short of reaching the Finals in the Swiss league.