IT was Paul Lee’s way of responding to Rain or Shine teammate Jeff Chan’s piece of advice before departing for the Fiba-Asia Cup in Wuhan, China.
Shortly after the Elasto Painters’ PBA season ended with a runner-up finish to newly-minted Grand Slam champion San Mig Super Coffee in the Governors Cup, Chan went to Lee and reminded him to carry over his season-long stellar play to Gilas Pilipinas' overseas campaign.
And not one to disappoint, Lee did just that as he put on a shooting clinic in his first international stint with the national team, which he led to a 78-64 rout of Chinese Taipei to kick off its bid in the Fiba-Asia Cup on a winning note.
The 25-year-old combo guard was at his best in the second half when he poured 15 of his 18 points in a lethal performance that rescued the Filipinos from what could have been a disastrous tournament opener.
Lee rained down three triples in the last two quarters, then added a nifty pass to the waiting hands of Gary David, who swished in another three-pointer to give Gilas a 70-59 lead late in the game.
“Sinabi ko lang kay Paul na laruin niya lang 'yung kung ano ang laro niya talaga. Huwag ka lang maging tentative,” Chan told Spin.ph shortly upon learning that Lee played a pivotal role in helping Gilas to victory.
One of Gilas Pilipinas’ potent outside shooters, Chan said since playing alongside Lee in 2012, he never had any doubt about the capability of the guard out of University of the East Red.
“First of all, si Paul eh talented na player iyan. He can dribble, push the ball, he can drive, and may outside shooting pa,” noted Chan.
The left-handed Chan said with Lee’s high basketball IQ, his transition from the PBA brand of basketball to the way the game is played in the international front won’t be a problem.
“Sa dribble-drive offense kasi ni coach (Chot Reyes), ang importante eh naglalaro ka at nagpa-practice para mas makabisado mo. Saka di naman siya that complicated, kaya nga kaya yan ni Paul,” he added.
Lee was included in the Gilas national pool last February by Reyes as the national team gears up for the Fiba-World Cup in Spain next month and the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea in September.
Chan didn’t join Gilas in the Fiba-Asia Cup to get a much-needed rest after a tiring PBA season.
Other members of the Gilas squad who opted to rest and skip the tournament were Jason Castro, Larry Fonacier, and Jimmy Alapag of Talk ‘N Text, San Mig forward Marc Pingris, and Rain or Shine’s defensive ace Gabe Norwood.