A knee injury barred Rain or Shine’s combo guard Paul Lee from joining Gilas Pilipinas in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying tournament on July 5 to 10 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City. Lee sustained a partial tear on both the lateral meniscus and tendons of his left knee.
Lee needs to rest for five to six weeks for the injury to heal.
“I have to skip the Olympic qualifying tournament according to my doctor because of this injury,” said Lee.
“Paul is out. That’s a tragedy for Paul. He’s had so many problems with his knees and body. We set a special prayer for him that he can get those things right. We all saw what he’s capable of doing in the finals,” Gilas coach Tab Baldwin told reporters on Tuesday after the team’s practice at the Meralco Gym in Ortigas.
Lee, the recent Commissioner’s Cup Finals Most Valuable Player posted an average of 14.8 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game during RoS’ campaign against Alaska in the best-of-seven finals.
Expected to step up in the absence of Lee are Jayson Castro of Talk ‘N Text, Terrence Romeo of GlobalPort, LA Tenorio of Ginebra and amateur standout Kiefer Ravena.
San Miguel Beer’s Marcio Lassiter and Rain or Shine’s Gabe Norwood were also present on Tuesday practice.
“I’m very happy with the turnout of our practice today and I feel so good. Everybody participated well and that’s what I want to happen,” he said. “We are taking every practice positively.”
Baldwin also said that the 6-foot-11 center Andray Blatche would arrive on Friday from the US to join the training.
“I was informed that he will arrive this Friday and I expect him to join us on Sunday practice,” said Baldwin.