PAUL Lee has been playing through the pain in his right knee the past two games of Magnolia and aggravated it further after colliding with rookie Robert Bolick against NorthPort on Wednesday night.
The warrior that he is, Lee continues to grind out especially with the Hotshots’ playoffs chances in the PBA Philippine Cup hanging in the balance.
Despite the obvious limp, Lee was as solid as a rock in the team’s crucial 103-90 win over NorthPort at the Smart Araneta Coliseum that pumped life into the Hotshots' bid for a berth in the quarterfinals.
The 30-year-old native of Tondo shot 50 percent from the field on the way to a 24-point output in the Hotshots’ fourth win in nine outings.
He was 6-of-13 from three-point range and had three rebounds and four assists despite playing the rest of the second half with a sharp pain on his knee after bumping into Bolick in the third quarter.
“Huwag naman sana lumala ng grabe,” was his concern at the moment, the hit being in the same area that he hurt during Magnolia’s game against Columbian Dyip.
His effort earned him special mention from coach Chito Victolero at his post-game presser.
“Si Paul naman, he has a big heart. Alam naman natin yung bata na yan hindi susuko kahit meron siyang nararamdaman,” he said.
“But he needs to play. Kailangan niya talagang gawin ito. So I’m very proud kay Paul kasi even though may nararamdaman siya, talagang binibigay niya yung 100 percent niya.”
Lee isn’t about to complain, having known that just about everyone in the team has been banged up with the tight schedule the Hotshots had the past few weeks.
“Tuloy lang namin, kapit lang kami sa isat isa. Halos lahat naman may nararamdaman na pero wala namang nagrereklamo,” he said.
“So good sign yun para sa amin. And nakikita namin na yung isa’t isa na walang nag-give up, so dagdag motivation yun sa amin.”
The Hotshots will have just another one day break before resuming their campaign Friday against Blackwater.
They finally take a respite during All-Star Week before ending their elimination round campaign against NLEX on April 3.
Victolero has urged Lee to fight on with one more game left to play before the All-Star break.
“Sabi ko nga sa kanya after Friday tsaka tayo magpahinga,” said the Magnolia mentor. “And yung bata naman, he’s willing to sacrifice.”