RAIN or Shine coach Yeng Guiao said he has been around long enough to know that Paul Lee is bound to get a lot of offers from other teams after an outstanding 2014 season.
But the fiery coach still expects Rain or Shine to keep its rising star.
“Matagal na tayo sa dito, kaya alam na natin na mangyayari 'yan (offer from other teams),” Guiao told Spin.ph on Monday when asked about Lee, the former Rookie of the Year awardee who will become a restricted free agent when his contract expires at the end of the month.
Guiao said the PBA ballclub is giving Lee all the space he needs to focus on Gilas Pilipinas' campaign in the Fiba World Cup and Asian Games before co-owners Terry Que and Raymund Yu franchise begin negotiating with the six-foot guard on a new deal.
As a restricted free agent, Lee cannot sign freely with other teams but can entertain offer sheets which Rain or Shine has the option to match.
But with Yu and Que already making it clear that they are ready to offer their star guard as much as a three-year deal under the league's maximum salary of P420,000 a month, Guiao said he will be "surprised" if Lee's agents bite on offer sheets from other teams.
“Syempre, magugulat at magtataka ako,” said the outspoken coach.
“Maximum na yung amin, bakit aayawan pa nila? May pinag-iba ba ang maximum ng Rain or Shine sa maximum ng iba?” added the six-time champion mentor. “Ano pa ba ang gusto nila? Maximum na 'yun, di ba?”
Guiao has let go of several players who wanted to move in the past, among them Lordy Tugade and Junthy Valenzuela, but he didn't hide the fact that he will feel bad if Rain or Shine ends up losing Lee.
“Naiintindihan ko lahat 'yan eh. Hindi na ko bago dyan eh pero syempre, kahit papano sasama ang loob ko (if ever na iiwan na naman ako),” Guiao said. “Pero syempre, naiintindihan natin na lahat ng players naghahanap ng ikabubuti ng pamilya nila. Yun ang naiintindihan ko.”
“Malaking kawalan si Paul if ever mawawala. Kasi malaking parte siya ng team. Pero ako kumpiyansa pa naman ako na bata pa si Paul and he will make the right decision.”
The outspoken coach said he believes the 25-year-old Lee has a bright future ahead of him at Rain or Shine, which tabbed the former University of the East star with the No. 2 pick overall in the 2011 rookie draft and has since seen him turn into one of the league's most bankable stars.
“Isang sugal talaga kung lilipat siya. Although Paul can be a very good addition to any team. Pero sugal 'yung chemistry na naman na kakapain niya with other team,” he said.
“Tingin ko sa Rain or Shine siya fit na fit sa ngayon. And he has more room to blossom here. Wala siyang kaagawan sa pwesto. And kasabayan niyang nag-grow ang mga players dito.
“Pagnagpunta ka sa ibang team, maghahanap ka na naman ng niche mo.”