Years have passed, and yet Paul Lee still vividly remembers how it felt when he got traded for James Yap in easily one of the biggest deals that has ever taken place in the PBA.
Shock waves shot across the league back in October of 2016 when Rain or Shine sent Lee — then entering his sixth season in the pros — to Star for the two-time MVP in a one-for-one deal.
“Of course,” Lee said as he recalled the days leading up to that much-talked about trade in Saturday’s episode of 2OT, presented by SMART and supported by Team Phenom Sportswear.
The Elasto Painters then were coming off a disappointing finish in the 2016 Governors Cup, having missed the playoffs. And Lee admitted that he felt something wrong with the team at that point.
“Ang nangyari noon is siguro sampung player yata sa team, expiry that time. Doon ko naramdaman na ‘yung team parang naghihintay kung anong mangyayari about sa contract. Parang worried talaga lahat, kaya hindi makapag-focus ng maigi sa game,” said Lee, as Rain or Shine finished ninth in the eliminations with a 5-6 win-loss record.
“Then ‘yun nga, off-season siya. Tapos ang tagal, ang tagal noon, siguro lagpas ng isang buwan — kasi usually kay Coach Yeng, three weeks pinagpapahinga nila kami tapos babalik na kami ng practice. Sabi ko, ‘Lagpas na isang buwan ah’.”