Ray of hope for injury-plagued Magnolia as Paul Lee hopeful of playing vs Alaska
Paul Lee is recovering from a knee injury suffered late last season. Jerome Ascano

THERE is still hope for Magnolia’s depleted roster for its PBA Philippine Cup season-opener against Alaska on Wednesday night at The Arena in San Juan.

While, Marc Pingris, Jio Jalalon, Rafi Reavis, and rookie Robbie Herndon are all expected to be out due to injuries, Paul Lee still has a chance to make his season debut despite recovering from an MCL (medial collateral ligament) injury in his knee.

“Sana,” Hotshots coach Chito Victolero told SPIN.ph after practice on the eve of the matchup against the Aces that tips off at 7 p.m. “Depende sa pakiramdam niya tomorrow kung makakalaro siya.”

Lee hurt his knee in the last Governors’ Cup semifinals, causing him to practically miss all but one of the two games against Meralco, playing less than four minutes in Game Two, before sitting out the next game where he helplessly saw the Bolts sweep them in their best-of-five series.

Lee earlier expressed optimism about suiting up against the Aces.

“Feeling ko abot naman ako ng opening,” Lee said during the team’s unveiling of its new name late November. “Kailangan ko lang humabol sa conditioning ko sa game shape.”

Aside from Lee, Jalalon is also nursing an MCL injury, while Pingris had his kidney stones removed a few days ago, and Reavis is sidelined with a hip injury. Herndon is the latest casualty, nursing back spasms.

“Our remaining players need to step up,” Victolero said. “But we’re ready for this game.”

The Aces, on the other hand, are nearly at full-strength with a lineup led by Calvin Abueva and Vic Manuel.

“Alaska is very inspired and motivated right now because of the new players and their players are healthy, so we need to match their intensity and aggressiveness,” Victolero said.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos