PAUL Lee again proved that he’s not just a scorer on Tuesday night when he controlled the boards for Magnolia in its 86-79 quarterfinal win over GlobalPort that enabled them to reach the PBA Philippine Cup semifinals.
The center of the Batang Pier defensive attention that resulted in him missing all but three of his 16 shots, the Hotshots star guard turned to other areas to make a contribution, and he hauled down a game-high 13 rebounds that came with 14 points and one assist in 35 minutes as a starter.
“It's not about scoring these playoffs,” Lee said. “Kasi yung depensa, hihigpit na. Syempre, talagang papahirapan kanila so ayun kailangan yung mga little things yun yung gawin natin – so, go to the free throw line, make sure lang na ma-shoot ko lahat and syempre, rebounding.”
“Kaya yun, na-control namin yung laro sa dulo,” he added.
Lee drained all his seven free-throw attempts, the last two that gave the Hotshots an 85-79 lead and iced the game with 22 seconds left – completing a turnaround from 20 points down in the first quarter.
“We showed character,” Lee said. “Malaking bagay sa amin yung coming ngayong playoffs kasi naipakita namin talaga kung anong character meron kami. Hindi nag-panic yung buong team, even yung coaching staff, bawat isa sa amin, kumapit kami sa isa't isa. Ayun, hanggang sa nakabalik kami.”
Lee is hoping the Hotshots to keep showing that character in the semifinals against either NLEX or Alaska in their bid to finally get over the hump after falling short of the finals the last three conferences.
“Siguro it’s about time,” Lee said. “Siguro, okay na yung experience namin as a group. Kumbaga, yung preparation namin last season, maganda yun para sa season na ito. Ngayon, nakabalik kami ng semis. Hindi pa yun ang end goal namin pero we're happy to get back in the semis.”