Rain or Shine guard Paul Lee seems to be getting his usual groove back and there’s nobody more excited to see him deliver big-time than Elasto Painters coach Yeng Guiao.
“This is the right time for him to get his game back—championship time,” beamed Guiao, 57, clearly impressed with the 6-foot Lee’s showing in Rain or Shine’s 105-97 victory over Alaska on Friday night in the opener of their best-of-seven PBA Commissioners Cup finals showdown at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Lee, 27, sizzled off the bench, firing away a team-high 20 points spiked by four triples, including a dagger of a trey that restored the Elasto Painters’ lead back to five at 99-94 with under a minute left to play.
Guiao admitted Lee has already been showing the his deadly form of old since their triumphant semifinals series against powerhouse San Miguel Beer where he averaged 16.5 points and 3.5 assists in the last two games.
“We knew Paul was getting back his game. Two or three games ago, he was already getting in the groove” noted Guiao, adding Lee came up big even if had an injury scare late in the game.
“When everything was on the line, he made big shots. He’s back to his role as the leader of this team. I’m very happy and very excited about Paul’s game” he said. “There were some scary moments there when he hurt his ankle. But I think he’s okay. He was able to go back to the game.”
Guiao, who is bidding to steer the Painters to their second title after topping the 2012 Governors Cup, added he’s very excited to see their up-and-coming backcourt of Lee, veteran Jeff Chan, sophomore Jericho Cruz and rookie Maverick Ahanmisi
“I can just imagine if Paul is playing this way and Maverick is coming up and we play them together. And then Jeff is making his shots and Jericho is able to attack. I’m very excited with our backcourt. Our backcourt is exciting even for me as a coach,” he said. – By Jerome Lagunzad
Follow this writer on Twitter: @JLFoxSports