WILL Paul Lee play for Gilas Pilipinas in the Asian Games?
If word from the Gilas camp is accurate, Lee is still not certain at all of playing for Gilas in the Incheon Games because of injuries to both feet as well as his unresolved contract situation with PBA ballclub Rain or Shine.
The six-foot former University of the East star proved a valuable addition to the Gilas team in the last Fiba World Cup, bringing versatility to the backcourt with his height, bulk, and outside shooting.
Gilas coach Chot Reyes, however, revealed Lee had to endure plantar fasciitis on both feet during the campaign, which saw the Philippines beat Senegal for its first win in the World Cup in 40 years.
Reyes also cited Lee's injuries, as well as those to Marc Pingris and Jayson Castro, when he admitted that he is looking to convince Jimmy Alapag to hold off his retirement and make one last run in the Asiad.
If Alapag is reinstated to the Asiad team, Reyes may have to drop one player from the backcourt, which could be either Lee, Castro or Jared Dillinger who was earlier named to replace Alapag for the Incheon Games.
Complicating Reyes' selection dilemma is the eligibility issue surrounding Blatche and the likely possibility that fellow naturalized player Marcus Douthit may have to be tapped in his place.
Then there is the messy contract situation at Rain or Shine, which has been kept waiting while Lee weighs a three-year, maximum offer left unsigned since Gilas set sail for for a month-long buildup for the World Cup.
Lee had said from Spain that he will talk to Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao upon his return, but team officials have not heard from the star guard since he arrived three days ago.
The former Rookie of the Year, sources said, has also made himself scarce since his arrival except to people who are handling his contract renewal.
One member of the team who asked not to be named even went out on a limb and said Lee will not play in the Asian Games if his Rain or Shine contract remains unresolved.
Reyes, LA Tenorio, Jimmy Alapag and other members of the team who stayed behind in Spain after the Fiba World Cup arrived on Tuesday and Gilas is set to reunite for its Asiad buildup on Friday.
Reyes is not expected to finalize his lineup until after a registration meeting on Wednesday where chef de mission Richie Garcia and other Philippine officials are set to plead Blatche's case.
Gilas is set to leave for Incheon on September 19, meaning Lee may have until that time to sort out his contract dispute and prove that he is back in full fitness to make the team.
Until then, the clock is ticking for the Gilas guard.