It would have been the perfect storyline for Game Seven: star rookie Paul Lee suiting up for Rain or Shine as it tries to win its first championship in the final game of the season.
Elasto Painters coach Yeng Guiao, however, would not have any of it.
“Paul Lee has many more chances left. He will still have many opportunities, so I don’t want to risk his future just for one final game,” Guiao said in a telephone interview a day before their do-or-die game against the B-MEG Llamados.
Lee aggravated his already hurting left shoulder in Game Two of the best-of-seven Governors’ Cup finals. The league’s Rookie of the Year requires surgery for the shoulder, but still suited up for the team in each of the past two games.
In an exclusive interview with InterAKTV, Lee said that he’d been dying to get in the game.
“Of course, I really want to play,” said the teary-eyed Lee, who has been appealing to his coach to let him play.
“Gustung-gusto ko tulungan yung team ko, pero wala akong magawa and yun ang mas masakit.”
Lee earlier told InterAKTV that not playing in the series is more painful than the injury he suffered.
Guiao said he understands the feelings of the 22-year-old Lee, but said his priority is to look out for the youngster’s career.
The absence of the Elasto Painters’ best player has hampered Rain or Shine. Guiao says without Lee on the court, B-MEG import Marqus Blakely has been allowed to wreak havoc on the floor.
“Before kasi, Blakely was the one picking up Paul and he was busier on the defensive end guarding our best player,” said Guiao. “Now, Blakely is able to help out at the post, which makes it difficult for Jamelle Cornley to operate inside.”
Still, Guiao believes Game Seven is still theirs for the taking.
“I still have a good feeling about it and we will win still win this series. Na-delay lang ulit,” he said.
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