Rain or Shine with Kevin Alas during the 2014 PBA Draft on Sunday. Photo by Dennis Gasgonia, ABS-CBNnews.com
MANILA, Philippines – Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao is wondering what more guard Paul Lee is asking for from the team considering the Elasto Painters have offered the former Rookie of the Year everything they can in a bid to keep him.
Lee, through his manager Lawrence Chongson, has said that he wants to be traded from Rain or Shine, which took him with the second pick in the 2011 PBA Draft.
During the 2014 PBA Rookie Draft on Sunday, Guiao confirmed that Lee has demanded to be traded.
"We're still clarifying things. Nililiwanag namin. Ang hirap, kasi wala dito si Paul," Guiao told reporters of his prized guard, who is currently with the Philippine national basketball team in Spain.
"I only had one conversation with him yesterday. Kinonfirm lang niya na tama, gusto niya mag-request ng trade," he added.
But Guiao admitted that Lee did not clearly explain why he is seeking a trade from the Elasto Painters.
"Sabi ko kay Paul, maganda naman 'yung samahan ng team, para kaming pamilya. It is with Rain or Shine that he was Rookie of the Year, it was with Rain or Shine that he won a championship," said Guiao.
"Also, we are perennial contenders. He also became a national team player. We have given him that maximum contract," he added.
"Ano pa ba ang kailangan niya?"
'Nagtataka si Commissioner'
Guiao noted that even PBA Commissioner Chito Salud was perplexed by Lee's trade demand. The coach also expressed his gratitude at Salud's offer to act as an arbitrator between Lee's camp and the Rain or Shine management.
"We appreciate that, kasi alam din ni Commissioner 'yung situation. Actually, kausap ko si Commissioner, at nagtataka din si Commissioner kung bakit," Guiao revealed.
"Alam niyo 'yung relationship maganda naman, alam niyo 'yung salary, sagad na, so bakit pa lilipat si Paul? So alam din niya 'yun. Nagtataka din siya," Guiao said of Salud.
Lee's contract with Rain or Shine officially expires on August 31, although Guiao said they still have the rights to the former University of the East star even after date.
For the time being, however, Guiao wants Lee to focus on his national team duties, but expects the All-Star to have a clearer explanation upon his return.
"It's hard to communicate with him, and we want him to concentrate on playing with the national team," said Guiao. "Wala namang problema. We can wait until he comes back."
Guiao also stressed that "all of us in the team wants to retain Paul," even though they drafted two shooting guards on Sunday to act as "insurance" – Letran's Kevin Alas and Adamson's Jericho Cruz.
"Ready rin kami kung may ibang mangyari, kaya nga nag-draft kami ng insurance," said Guiao. "But Paul is well-liked in the team, so bakit hindi namin i-exhaust lahat ng paraan para ma-retain siya? 'Yun ang gagawin namin."
Lee is free to discuss with other PBA teams once his contract expires on August 31, but Guiao emphasized that "we control the trade."
"Kung hindi namin siya papayagan na ma-trade, obligado siya na maglaro para sa amin," he said.
If Lee is adamant that he no longer wants to play for Rain or Shine, however, Guiao will not force him to stay.
"Meron kaming rule sa team, na pagka-ayaw mo na maglaro dito, hindi ka namin pipilitin," said the coach. "'Yun ang rule namin sa team namin. Ayaw namin pilitin si Paul kung ayaw niya maglaro."