PAUL Lee is grateful for the opportunity to don the Gilas Pilipinas uniform once again, but he’s not about to set aside his task of helping the Star Hotshots clinch a quarterfinals berth in the PBA Philippine Cup.
Three days after being named among the 12 players who will join the cadets in the 25-man national pool, the combo guard was all business for the Hotshots as he exploded for 13 fourth-quarter points in the all-important 111-95 rout of Blackwater on Wednesday night at the Astrodome.
Lee finished with 15 points on 3-of-4 shooting from downtown, taking charge during the final period as the Hotshots kept a rallying Elite side at bay for their fifth win in nine outings.
“Focus muna ako rito kasi playoffs na,” said the ‘Angas ng Tondo’ following the game. “Sa ngayon hindi ko muna iniisip 'yan dahil malayo pa naman yung Gilas.”
The Hotshots still have a good shot at earning the No. 2 berth, with also-ran Meralco and Mahindra serving as their final two games in the eliminations.
The 27-year-old University of the East standout missed the chance to join the Gilas 4.0 team of Tab Baldwin in the 2016 Fiba Olympic Qualifying Tournament as he had to deal with issue about his hurting knee.
But the injury has long been healed, and Lee kept himself in shape for this season by trimming down to 200 pounds from as high as 219 in the last Governors Cup.
All these are part of his commitment to do good for both Star and the national team, according to Lee.
“Kailangan perform pa rin ako rito (Star). Siyempre kahit paano tinitingnan ka kasi dahil na-select ka sa Gilas pool,” he stressed. “Siyempre para hindi rin mapahiya yung mga tao na kumuha sa iyo sa Gilas.”