It felt like playing for the first time in the PBA for sophomore Paul Lee when he made his return Friday during Rain or Shine's 116-101 win over Barako Bull at the MOA Arena.
"Since it's my season debut, I felt like a rookie again," said Lee during an interview. "When I made my first basket, it was the same feeling of excitement I had when I was in my first year."
"I'm just happy that I'm playing now after missing so many games," added Lee, who was named the PBA Rookie of the Year last season.
Lee revealed that he had a hard time sleeping on the eve of his return.
"I was so excited to play again. I was thinking so many things. When I made my first basket - a fade away jumper - that's when I felt my confidence is back."
"I thought after the first half, that was it for me. But I was surprised when I started in the third period, so I just grabbed the opportunity," he added.
Lee, the No. 2 overall pick of Rain or Shine during the 2011 PBA Rookie Draft, scored 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the field and added four rebounds and six assists in 20 minutes of action off the bench.
The 6-foot playmaker missed 18 games, including 13 this conference due to a dislocated left shoulder he sustained during Game 2 of the PBA Governors' Cup finals won by Rain or Shine.
A day after the Elasto Painters bagged their first PBA title, Lee underwent arthroscopic bankart repair (shoulder surgery) last August 6 and spent four months undergoing therapy.