PAUL Lee continued to be a playmaker for Magnolia, turning into a facilitator as he reacted to what the NLEX defense gave him in their 106-99 win in Game Three of their PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series on Wednesday night.
After dropping 27 points in their Game Two win, the Hotshots star got extra attention on defense, countering it by dishing out a game-high six assists, while still scoring 14 points, including three triples, along with three boards in 29 minutes.
“With the situation, yung defense masyadong naka-focus sa akin. I took advantage of that, finding my teammates, try to be a decoy,” Lee said. “Buti na lang nag-work.”
Lee’s playmaking benefited Jio Jalalon, Ian Sangalang, and Rome dela, the young trio who led their offensive onslaught this time.
Lee particularly praised his backcourt partner, Jalalon, for finally asserting himself on offense after usually just leading their defense.
“That's his game,” Lee said of Jalalon said. “From the start, talagang he took over. Iyon talaga yung game ni Jio. Finally, lumabas na ngayong Game Three. Iyon yung talagang kailangan namin ngayon. Nag-step up talaga siya.”
“Special mention also to Rome and Ian and then yung buong team, ginawa yung buong role na pinapagawa ng mga coaching staff kahit ako,” he added.
But Lee knows taking the series lead doesn’t guarantee anything.
“Hindi naman iyon yung goal namin. The goal is to win the series,” Lee said. “Nakaangat pa lang kami ng isa.”
“It's not gonna be easy,” he added of Game Four on Friday night. “For sure, it's gonna be a tough game. I don't know. It's gonna be a close game. Mahirap eh. Kasi talagang kapag nag-run yung NLEX, mabilis din eh. Kailangang pagbutihin pa namin.”