Lee and Co. honor injured Pingris with gestures and a courageous performance
Paul Lee wears shoes with a '15' patch to honor injured teammate Marc Pingris. Jerome Ascano

MAGNOLIA honored Marc Pingris on Monday night by wearing “15” patches on their jerseys and shoes in a 99-84 win over NLEX in Game Two of their PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series.

That was the Hotshots simple way of offering the game to the injured star forward, who is feared to be out of the season after sustaining a torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) on his left knee in Game One.

Jio Jalalon said team official Reena del Mundo initiated the gesture.

“Sina ma’am Reena, nilagyan kami lahat sa jersey dahil kay Kuya Ping,” Jalalon said. “Kasi lagi nagme-message sa'min si Kuya Ping na 'kaya namin 'to.' So kumbaga, malaki ring tulong yung mga sinasabi ni Kuya Ping sa'min.”

Jalalon honored Pingris by putting up an all-around performance of 10 assists, nine points, six rebounds, and one steal, and playing solid defense on Gilas Pilipinas teammate Kiefer Ravena, who was held to nine points on seven attempts and committed five turnovers in 22 minutes as a starter.

But the spotlight was on Paul Lee, who sparked the blowout with 27 points, including 10 in the opening period as he also paid tribute to Pingris.

“Sinabi niya lang na ipanalo lang namin tong series na ‘to para sa kanya,” Lee said of Pingris. “Then, ni-remind niya kami na ‘di na maibabalik tong panahon na ‘to. Nangyari na ‘to, so kailangan maging memorable sa amin ito kasi yun nga wala na kaming magagawa, si Kuya Ping injured.”

“So yun nga, sinasabi lang niya na yung mga other guys talaga step up talaga kasi yun yung kailangan namin yung bench talaga,” he added.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos