RAIN or Shine has traded star guard Paul Lee to Star for two-time MVP James Yap in what is easily the biggest deal of the PBA season, sources told SPIN.ph on Thursday.
The Elasto Painters, according to a source, hammered out the deal after failing to lock down the former Rookie of the Year awardee to a three-year contract extension.
The deal was finally sealed in a meeting between RoS governor Mert Mondragon and Star officials led by team manager Alvin Patrimonio on Thursday, the source added.
"It's a done deal," said the source.
Yap has played for the Purefoods franchise his whole career, but rumors that he is being offered to other tams surfaced this season amid the team's struggle under first-year coach Jason Webb.
On the other hand, Lee's departure is just the latest move in an overhaul of the Rain or Shine franchise that was kicked off by the surprise departure of longtime coach Yeng Guiao for NLEX.
On Thursday morning, SPIN.ph reported that Rain or Shine has broken up its famed 'Extra Rice' tandem by trading JR Quinahan to GlobalPort for Jay Washington.
Late Thursday, the PBA has put a stamp of approval on both trades.
But for Rain or Shine owners, the Yap trade heralds a homecoming of sorts for the popular player who played for its team, then carrying the Welcoat banner, in the defunct Philippine Basketball League (PBL).
"He has come full circle with us," said RoS co-owner Raymund Yu of Yap. "Hopefully he retires with the Rain or Shine franchise."