Paul Lee on injuries keeping him out of Gilas pool: 'Hindi ko rin naman gusto 'yun'
Star guard Paul Lee is held to two points in 28 minutes against Phoenix. Jerome Ascano

PAUL Lee would rather keep mum than fire back at critics questioning his desire to play for Gilas Pilipinas after he was forced to pull out from the national pool due to a knee injury.

“Yun yung hindi nila naiintindihan, syempre hindi naman natin sila mapi-please,” the Star guard said after the team’s 101-82 win over Phoenix on Wednesday. “Mas maganda na iwasan na lang o dedmahin na lang yung mga ganun bagay kasi hindi rin makakatulong sa akin.”

Hotshots teammates Marc Pingris and Allein Maliksi on Tuesday defended Lee from his critics, saying bashers don’t understand his injury situation.

“Na-injury tayo eh. Hindi ko rin naman gusto talaga yun,” Lee said. “Kung may chance naman at one-hundred percent naman ako, bakit hindi, ‘di ba? Alam naman ng buong team 'yun.”

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Lee said he was left frustrated by the timing of his injury that prevents him from juggling club and country duties.

“I feel bad, kasi every time na nagkakaroon ng ganyan (international tournament), may nangyayari sa akin eh. Hindi ko alam kung nagkakataon ba or what eh,” the 28-year-old combo guard said.

“Syempre gusto ko din naman talagang maglaro, pero kung hindi naman din one hundred percent, baka hindi rin ako makatulong, or baka sabihin nagpe-petiks lang ako.

“So sasabihin ko na lang yung totoo na hindi ko talagang kaya mag-one hundred percent,” he added.

Lee’s pullout, though, is a blessing in disguise for teammate Allein Maliksi, who replaced him in the pool.

“For me, it’s about time para kay Allein na mag-Gilas din siya,” Lee said. “I’m very happy for him.”

As for Lee, it was evident that he’s still recovering from his injury as he registered just two points after missing all but one of his nine shots, although he added seven boards, and three assists, against two turnovers in almost 28 minutes of play against Phoenix.

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“Medyo kailangan ko lang din makuha yung timing ko,” the former Rookie of the Year said. “Kailangan din makuha yung flow sa import namin.

“Maganda naka-contribute lahat,” he was quick to add. “Kahit hindi naman ako nagkaroon ng impact sa game na ‘to, maganda yung naging resulta.”

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos