TAB Baldwin has yet to be personally informed about the extent of the damage on the injured left knee of Rain or Shine stalwart Paul Lee.
But the Gilas Pilipinas coach is ready for any eventuality.
Although aware about the knee issues facing the PBA Press Corps Finals MVP of the recent Commissioner’s Cup, Baldwin said he can’t do anything but to accept reality.
“I know he has some knee issues, but it is what it is,” said the 57-year-old national coach after holding Gilas’ three-hour practice on Sunday at the Meralco gym. “We just have to deal with it.”
"But I know he (Lee) badly wants to be part of Gilas."
The guard known by the moniker ‘Angas ng Tondo’ admitted after the best-of-seven title series between Alaska and Rain or Shine that there remains swelling on his left knee, which was drained every other day during the finals.
He had the knee examined over the weekend.
“Di naman normal yung pinu-fluids yung tuhod mo, so ibig sabihin may problema pa rin,” related the 27-year-old Lee of his situation that left him out of action for the early part of the season.
But the combo guard from the University of the East said he’ll be coming over – along with Rain or Shine teammates Gabe Norwood and Jeff Chan, Alaska’s Calvin Abueva, and San Miguel’s Marcio Lassiter - when the national resumes its training early Tuesday morning at the Meralco gym after taking the Monday off.
Baldwin said he’s ready to listen to whatever Lee will have to say when he comes over to practice after a five-day break given to him and the other players who saw action in the last PBA finals.
“I have to see him on Tuesday. I haven’t talked to him yet, but I did read that he has knee issues,” said the national coach. “But I know during the playoffs, his (knee) was being drained.”
Lee's admissioncame just a few days after Baldwin disclosed big man Greg Slaughter and young athletic guard Matt Ganuelas-Rosser will no longer be available for Gilas in the coming Manila leg of the Olympic Qualifying Tournament due to ankle injuries.
Rosser has already undergone surgery, while Slaughter is still being scheduled to go under the knife.
Baldwin hasn’t been told if Lee would also be needing surgery, but expressed intention of giving him the needed rest if that would help heal the injured knee faster.
“If he needs to rest, we’ll give him time to rest. But do we have enough time to rest?” said the Gilas mentor.