CHRIS Newsome is ready to take on the daunting task of matching up with Paul Lee in Meralco’s upcoming PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series against Magnolia.
After the Bolts dispatched the NLEX Road Warriors, 97-86, to clinch the last semifinal berth, Newsome was served notice by coach Norman Black that he wull likely take on one of the best players in the league in best-of-seven series that starts Sunday.
The 31-year-old Fil-Am guard said it’s always a challenge going up against the best player from the other side.
Lee, 32, averaged 17.0 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 2.4 assists in 11 elimination games with the Hotshots. He stepped up in the quarterfinals by averaging 22.0 points in Magnolia’s two-game sweep of Rain or Shine.
Newsome is ready.
“I always love to compete whenever it comes down to it,” he said. “I love to take on the best from the other side, and he’s definitely one of the best in the league.”
Newsome on a roll
Newsome primed up for the big battle ahead by scoring a game-high 23 points in Friday night’s game at the Don Honorio Ventura State University gym. His stats line read 8-of-13 from the field, with nine rebounds, six assists, and no turnovers in 41 minutes of play.
But Newsome stressed the semis series is not going to be just about him and Lee.
“It’s just a challenge that I have to step up to, not just me. But it’s going to be a team effort because there might be times I may not be on Paul Lee. Depending on how the series goes,” added the former Rookie of the Year.
Newsome said a series is a battle of adjustments and the Bolts may or may not give Lee different looks depending on how the semis goes.
“Everyone knows a series is like a chess match. It’s not necessary to be me against Paul Lee. We may see a lot of different match up,” the 6-foot-2 guard said.
“Nonetheless, I’m excited to go out there and compete, give our best, and put our best foot forward not just for the team but for the whole organization of Meralco.”