RAIN or Shine top gunner Paul Lee said finishing third in the race for the Best Player Award of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the close of the elimination round has spurred him to get even better in the playoffs.
The 26-year-old combo guard finished with a total of 32.0 statistical points (SPs), just behind San Miguel Beer star center and reigning MVP June Mar Fajardo (33.9 SPs) and Talk ‘N Text guard Jayson Castro (32.2 SPs.)
But with San Miguel failing to get past the eliminations, Fajardo will more likely drop out of the race.
“Siguro dahil nandyan na (No. 3 in BPC race) yung chance, pagta-trabahuhin ko siya lalo saka paghuhusayan ko,” said Lee, who fired 14 points in Rain or Shine 99-86 win over Meralco on Tuesday for a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five semifinals series.
“Mas tutulungan ko manalo ang team, pero uunahin ko muna yung team.”
Although Lee has been Rain or Shine’s go-to-guy since breaking into the league as the second overall pick in the 2011 draft, he has never really contended for a race for any major individual award owing to the equal distribution of playing minutes being observed by coach Yeng Guiao.
Nonetheless, the former Rookie of the Year said he remains motivated than ever to help Rain or Shine win a championship this season.
“Same thing pa rin kung ano ginagawa ko simula pa nung start ng season kasi wala naman akong binago sa routine ko. Yung umaga workout ko, nagpe-payoff na lang siguro pero gusto ko tulungan ang team mag-champion,” explained the man they call ‘Lee-thal Weapon.’
The Gilas Pilipinas stalwart though doesn’t expect the series against Meralco to be a walk in the park since the Holy Week break gives the Bolts enough time to make the necessary adjustments going to Sunday’s Game Two.
“Ang Meralco, magba-bounce back yan. Game One is nothing pa naman. Labasan lang ng laro, pero ang importante eh mag-aadjust ngayon,” he said.