Photo from PBA Images
MANILA, Philippines – The Rain or Shine Elasto Painters expect superstar guard Paul Lee to see action when they face the defending PBA Philippine Cup champion San Miguel Beermen in the conference semifinals which begin next Tuesday, January 5.
Rain or Shine head coach Yeng Guiao said after his team’s quarterfinals win over the Talk ’N Text Tropang Texters on Monday, December 28, that Lee, who has been out of action this entire conference due to a knee injury, will play during the best-of-7 series.
“Paul is going to play in the semis,” said Guiao, who notched his first win in a playoff series against Talk ’N Text in 13 years.
“We also wanted to win this game because we also wanted Paul to participate. We wanted Paul to be able to contribute, and he’s just aching to play, and I think by January he can be ready.”
Lee was ruled out for two months of play after it was announced prior to the 41st PBA season that he suffered a slight tear to his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and meniscus, according to a report by Interaksyon.
Last season, Lee averaged a career-high 15.6 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 3.3 assists in 53 games for Rain or Shine, plus was named to the PBA’s Mythical First Team.
“He’s not going to be 100% [on] January 5,” admitted Guiao, “but he can be there very quickly. Paul is determined and he’s talented so it won’t take too much time.”
By beating Talk ’N Text, Rain or Shine advanced to the PBA semifinals for an eighth straight conference - the current longest streak in the PBA.
The last time they took on the Beermen in a playoff series was during last season’s Governors’ Cup semis when San Miguel advanced to the finals in 4 games, 3-1.
As one of the top two seeds during the PBA elimination round, San Miguel received an instant bye to the semifinals. By the time their first game against Rain or Shine arrives, it will have been 3 weeks since they last played on December 16 - a loss to the Alaska Aces.
In the other semifinal series, the Aces will take on the GlobalPort Batang Pier. – Rappler.com