IT really comes naturally for Paul Lee to deliver at crunch time – even if the play wasn’t designed for him.
The Star guard admitted the play that gave the Hotshots a two-possession lead against Ginebra down the stretch was a broken one, prompting him to take matters into his own hands and resulting in the floater that beat the shot-clock buzzer - and broke the Gin Kings’ hearts on Thursday night.
“Tsamba lang yun,” Lee said after the Hotshots held on to 78-74 win in Game One of their PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series. “Actually broken play ang nangyari. Hindi nasunod 'yung play namin galing sa timeout, so take charge lang, kinuha ko lang 'yung bola kay Rafi (Reavis), at buti umabot (sa shot clock).”
“Hindi talaga dapat sa akin yun,” he admitted. “(Pero) five seconds na lang ata nung pagkuha ko ng bola, so wala ng isip-isip, atake na agad. Nakakita ng open lane, focus lang ako sa tira ko at buti pumasok.”
Lee, who finished with a game-high 18 points, five boards, one assist, and one steal, led a Hotshots side that knew how to close out a grind-out battle for a change after winning their last seven games by an average of 27 points.
“Yung mga blowout game, hindi naman namin sinasadya na maging ganun eh,” Lee insisted. “Maganda lang talaga yung depensa namin, tapos sa opensa maraming open shots.”
“Kanina, ang dami naming open shot, pero hindi kami maka-shoot, so kailangan namin bumalik sa best friend namin, which is yung defense,” he added after the Hotshots shot only 40 percent (27 of 68) from the field.
Their defense manifested on Gin Kings star LA Tenorio, who was held to just eight points on 3-of-11 shooting in 40 minutes.