EXPECT a brand-new ‘Angas Ng Tondo’ for the Star Hotshots when the PBA’s 43nd season gets underway in the middle of December.
Guard Paul Lee had a successful operation last week on his injured left knee that kept him out for the duration of the Hotshots’ Governors Cup semifinals series against the Meralco Bolts.
The procedure, done at the St. Luke’s Hospital in Bonifacio Global City, lasted less than three hours and was performed by renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. Raul Canlas.
Lee was sent home right away following the surgery on the lateral meniscus tear on his knee.
‘Naka-bandage lang siya and may konting pain, pero nakakalakad ako. I just had my check-up and by next week, start na ako ng therapy,” Lee disclosed to SPIN.ph prior to leaving for a short vacation in Singapore with wife Ruby.
According to Dr. Canlas, Lee will need to undergo therapy and rehabilitation for six to seven weeks, assuring he’ll be ready to play for Star by the time the new season unfurls on Dec. 17.
“Wala namang problema, makakalaro na ako agad sa simula ng season. Bagong overhaul, e.”
The knee had been bothering Lee for quite sometime now, dating back to his days with Rain or Shine, where he also missed several games to a undergo PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) procedure.
The knee was also the reason given by Star when the former University of the East star was pulled out of the Gilas Pilipinas pool ahead of the Fiba Asia Cup.
Unfortunately after a relatively injury-free campaign this season, the knee acted up during the semis of the season-ending tournament after Lee hurt it during the series opener in Binan, Laguna.
He briefly played through the pain the following game, before finally deciding to sit out Game Three when the Bolts beat the Hotshots in overtime to complete a three-game sweep.
Lee and Star management came to a decision that it was time to have the knee operated.
“I think kailangan na rin talaga. Due na rin. Ang dami ng games na inilaro kaya bugbog na rin 'yung tuhod ko,” he said.
While Star came short of making the finals in his first season with the ballclub, being in the semifinals of each of the three conferences wasn’t bad at all, Lee said.
“Not bad at all. Tatlong sunod kaming nakapasok sa semis. Hindi man kami nakapasok sa finals, but considering na we have a new team, a new system, and a new coach in Chito Victolero, 'yung tatlong semis na yun masaya na rin naman kami,” he said.
“Ang pinaka-worse na nangyari, hindi kami nag-playoffs. Pero sa awa naman ng Diyos, nakapasok kami ng tatlong sunod sa semis.”
But definitely, next season will be a different story, he vowed.
“Next year, need na mag step-up talaga kaming mga veterans. Ang reminder nga ni coach Chito bago kami naghiwa-hiwalay, dapat next season mas mataas na ang maabot namin,” said Lee.
A finals stint or a championship. Either way, expect a brand-new Paul Lee to be there for the Hotshots.