Maximum Rain or Shine contract awaits Paul Lee
MANILA, Philippines — Paul Lee, one of the latest additions to the Gilas Pilipinas national team pool, will come home from the Fiba World Cup in Spain in September feeling like a true winner.
The 6-foot point guard, who has shown that he has the skills to play the international brand of basketball in less than a month as a national player, will be offered the maximum contract by Rain or Shine once his current pact expires at the end of August.
“That’s a no-brainer,” Rain or Shine co-owner Raymond Yu told the Inquirer over the phone Saturday as Lee’s first pro contract, signed before the 2011 Season, ends on Aug. 31.
“He has shown us that he deserves it—whether in the PBA or for the country,” Yu added. “We will have an offer ready even before he comes home [from the World Cup].”
Yu disclosed that they will be giving Lee, the former Rookie of the Year, P420,000 a month for the next three years, putting him in the company of the league’s elite players.
Lee is with the Nationals in Miami, Florida, for a two-week training in preparation for the World Cup where the Philippines has been bracketed in Group B together with Argentina, Croatia, Greece, Puerto Rico and Senegal.
Yu is hoping that Lee would crack the lineup after Larry Fonacier begged off from joining the team because of health reasons.
With Chot Reyes adding two big men in Beau Belga and Jay Washington and two wingmen in Lee and Jared Dillinger to the pool, Lee looks to be the perfect replacement for Fonacier.
Lee was the deadliest outside gun for the Philippines and led the Filipinos in scoring in the Fiba-Asia Cup in Wuhan, China. He also drained three free throws with no time left that clinched an 80-79 decision of the host Chinese in the game for the bronze medal.
Meanwhile, Fonacier will still be flying to Spain to be the biggest cheerleader for the Filipinos.
“Although playing in the World Cup is a chance of a lifetime, it would be unfair to the Filipino people if I cannot be 100 percent,” Fonacier said after informing Reyes of his decision to beg off.
“I decided to skip the two tournaments (World Cup and Asian Games) to give coach Chot the chance to name a replacement who is 100 percent fit,” he said.