Gilas Pilipinas' Paul Lee scores 15 points against India. Photo from FIBA Asia.net
MANILA – Former basketball star and Senator Freddie Webb believes Paul Lee will be included in Gilas Pilipinas’ final roster after the player’s impressive performance in the recent FIBA Asia Cup in Wuhan, China.
“1,000 percent,” was Webb’s response to ABS-CBNnews.com when asked about Lee’s chances of making it to the final line-up. “He's proven himself.”
Webb, who was a member of the Philippine national team that competed in the 1972 Munich Olympics, marveled at Lee’s composure while burying the winning free-throws that towed Gilas past China in the bronze medal match of the FIBA Asia Cup.
The 3 pressure-filled shots made it 80-79 and secured a third place finish for Gilas Pilipinas.
“I think this guy is made of steel. He took 3 shots with time running out already and he had to make 2 to tie and 3 to win and he made all of his shots,” said Webb.
“You can't expect a better guy who has tapang ng loob. Tapang ng loob ang dala ni Paul Lee eh.”
Webb said the Rain or Shine guard may not yet be on the radar of the Philippines' FIBA Worlds competitors, which may help Gilas' chances.
“Hindi pa sya markado… meaning pagdating niya doon at hindi pa nila namarkahan si Paul Lee, magugulat sila,” he said.
Webb added that Lee has a compact physique needed against their competitors’ taller and wider guards.
“Si Paul Lee, tamang tama ang katawan pambangga eh,” he explained. “Hindi manipis, hindi naman masasabing malaki na mabagal, ang katawan ay tamang tamang pangdigmaan.”
“I think Paul lee, will make it. He will be a big help.”
But Webb said Coach Chot Reyes will, of course, have the last say regarding the team's line-up.
He said the Gilas' team coach knows best when it comes to the selection, especially after the team's second place finish in the FIBA Asia Championship.
"We should leave everything to Coach Chot Reyes. Anyway, the buck stops with him. He's proven himself worthy by bringing us to No. 2 spot, we almost made it."
The Gilas training pool is currently training in Miami, Florida with their newest addition, NBA's Andray Blatche. The team will have a couple of scrimmages there before flying to Spain where they will wrap up their camp.