THE moment Paul Lee left the Star dugout at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Saturday night, everything has been removed from his memory bank.
For the talented combo guard, the PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinals series between the Hotshots and the mighty San Miguel Beermen is just about to begin. Never mind the fact the team had just taken Game 1 of the best-of-five series, 109-105.
Lee said the Hotshots’ have taken a conscious effort to treat every game of the semis as always the series opener.
“Kasi motto ng team is 1-0 every game,” said the Hotshots’ key acquisition in the offseason involving the trade of superstar player James Yap. “Game 1 tapos na. Focus is on Game 2, pero 1-0 lang ulit (ang thinking).
Although winning the opener of a short series gives the Hotshots the edge against the Beermen, Lee said the team needs only to look back at Star’s recent experience in the Philippine Cup semifinals, where it led Barangay Ginebra, 2-0, in the best-of-seven duel, and yet still failed to advance in the finals after losing to the Kings in the decisive Game 7.
“2-0 nga kami against Ginebra, kaya 1-0 wala pa yun,” he said.
And certainly there's no room for overconfidence against a powerhouse San Miguel team that gave Star anxious moments in the stretch run when it rallied from as much as a 15-point deficit and nearly pulled off a comeback win.
“We need to finish strong,” said Lee, who finished with just four points (1 of 7 from the field), but had eight assists and three rebounds.
“Knowing San Miguel, ang bilis nilang humabol,” added the ‘Angas Ng Tondo.’ “Kahit lamang kami ng 15 points in two minutes kaya nila (hinabol).
“Lesson learned yun.”
The Hotshots will take with them the lesson they learned come Game Two of the series against the Beermen on Monday at the Mall of Asia Arena.