PAUL Lee finally returned and made Rain or Shine look even more fearsome.
Last year’s top rookie was broken in slowly in his first game in five months and helped the Elasto Painters eliminate Barako Bull from further PBA Philippine Cup contention with a 116-101 win last night at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.
Lee tossed in 16 points, had six assists and four rebounds in just 20 minutes, playing as if he never left, his surgically-repaired left shoulder—which kept him out of the last 18 games dating back to last season—holding up perfectly well.
“I was just ready because coach Yeng (Guiao) asked me to play in our final elimination round game,” Lee told reporters in Filipino after an astounding shooting night. “I have been working on my shooting (before the comeback).”
Lee made three triples and was 6-of-8 from the field, a jaw-dropping clip which gave coach Yeng Guiao another formidable offensive option. Last night, Jervy Cruz and Jonathan Uyloan’s career-high 23 and 18 points, respectively, led six Painters in twin digits.
Caloy Garcia was forced to call the shots for the Painters after Guiao was stuck in heavy traffic.
Rain or Shine wound up its elimination round stint with a 9-5 record for third spot at worst. That means a best-of-three clash with the No. 6 squad, most possibly Barangay Ginebra, in the quarterfinals.
Barako Bull became the second casualty of the tournament after the Batang Pier with a 4-10 record.
RAIN OR SHINE 116—Cruz 23, Uyloan 18, Lee 16, Chan 11,Quinahan 11, Belga 10, Tiu 8, Norwood 8, Rodriguez 4, Arana 4, Jaime 3, Matias 0, Tang 0.
BARAKO BULL 101—Seigle 21, Tubid 17, Yap16, Kramer 15, cruz 13, Anthony 11, marcelo 8, Najorda 0, Pennisi 0.
Quarters: 32-19; 54-47; 86-66; 116-101