Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Paul Lee: The Rain King has arrived.

This and all my PBA stories appear in

The Rain King has arrived
The Rain or Shine Elasto Painters hotshot rookie Paul Lee was a showstopper in his dazzling PBA debut. There is a new sheriff in town.
by rick olivares

On a night when “the Black Superman” Billy Ray Bates was inducted into the Philippine Basketball Association Hall of Fame.

On opening day of the new season against Mark Caguioa and the Barangay Ginebra Kings.

The new pistolero arrived in town and is ready to establish a new world order.

Paul Lee, the high scoring UE Red Warrior, enters the PBA very much like Caguioa. He jacks up long-range cruise missiles. He has no conscience in eviscerating foes with a nasty crossover. He’s brash and emotional. The one thing he did not bring to the Smart Araneta Coliseum for his scintillating debut was a flop of faux blonde hair.

But Lee is tough just like his similarly-head shaven coach, Yeng Guiao. And he showed it the moment he entered the court.

Against the Kings in the opening game of the Philippine Cup, the Elasto Painters began the game on a poor note. A backing violation. A 24-second shot clock violation. A couple of missed shots. Ginebra soon went up 11-2.

However, this is the PBA where no lead is safe. And apparently, not if Paul Lee has anything to say about it.

The second overall draft pick wasted no time in going against Caguioa as he scored on two consecutive drives to bring Rain or Shine back in the game. After Ginebra guard Mike Cortez answered with two free throws, Lee once more drove inside before passing off to Gabe Norwood for an and-one against Kings center Rico Villanueva.

In their next possession, Lee ditched Caguioa with a crossover that the Kings’ guard used for so long on opponents until he was slowed down by injuries.

By quarter’s end, Rain or Shine had a 20-19 lead. And the rookie had 10 points, 1 rebound, and 2 assists. Lee had two more points that Caguioa had in his PBA debut. And that was only after six minutes of play.

The Elasto Painters drew strength and confidence from Lee as five different Ginebra guards were used against him (Caguioa, Cortez, Jayjay Helterbrand, Ronald Tubid, and Rob Labagala).

And Guiao exploited that as he had Lee on the floor at the same time with Jeff Chan and Ronjay Buenafe, two other swingmen with a penchant for putting up points on the board in a hurry.

Guiao’s squad was on the verge of blowing the Kings off the court after forward-center Jervy Cruz hit a sideline jumper for a 87-71 lead at the 7:43 mark of the final quarter. But JC Intal, JM Wilson, and Labagala, buoyed by a crowd that refused to let them lose to the upstart rookie and the Elasto Painters, led the Kings back with a furious rally.

With the score at 94-91 with 20.9 to play, ROS’ JR Quiñahan fouled Intal while taking a three-point shot. The high-flying forward hit the first two before bricking the last. Teammate Willy Wilson was able to get the loose ball but he likewise missed a desperation jumper at the buzzer.

The Elasto Painters escaped with a 94-93 win that nevertheless left Guiao and his prized rookie elated. Said the multi-titled Guiao: “It’s a big win for us -- first day, first game. Medyo may jitters pa but the good thing about it is we had a good lead coming into the endgame. We’ll take that. Paul Lee played a great game for his first game. He is physically tough. Mentally tough. He is just special. You can’t coach that. That didn’t come from me. Galing sa kanya. I think we had a good pick in the draft.”

On the match up against Ginebra where the crowd booed him particularly in the end game, Lee was deadly honest: “Linaro ko lang game ko. Binigyan ako ng kumpiyansa ng coach ko. Gusto ko yung underdog ako. Mas gusto ko yung sumisigaw yung crowd ng Ginebra kasi mas ginaganahan ako. Nung college pa lang ako underdog talaga. Sanay na ako.”

Lee compiled a game high 21 points, 5 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 steals and 2 turnovers in his first pro game. And he got plenty of help from Chan (18 points), Norwood (11 points), and Buenafe (10 points).

Ginebra was led by Intal and Caguioa who both had 16 points while Helterbrand added 11.

Guaio also expressed satisfaction about Lee’s presence who helped break the zone defenses teams used to throw at them.

The Elasto Painters return to action on October 9 at the Ynares Center in Antipolo where they the Powerade Tigers and the Jayvee Casio who was the number one overall pick in the draft. Ginebra goes up against the Alaska Aces in the nightcap.

Rain or Shine 94Lee 21, Chan 18, Norwood 11, Buenafe 10, Cruz 8, Quiñahan 7, Matias 6, Belga 4, Rodriguez 4, Ibañes 4, Araña 1

Ginebra 93Intal 16, Caguioa 16, Helterbrand 11, Tubid 8 Cortez 8, Wilson J 6, Canaleta 6, Villanueva 6, Labagala 5, Mamaril 5, Wilson W 4, De Ocampo 2, Cervantes 0.


I could say that Lee’s debut was worth the price of admission but I would have gone in to see Solenn Heussaff, Iya Villania, and Billy Ray Bates.

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