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    Lee carries lessons from 'painful' Game 7 loss to SMB in 2019 finals

    Oct 19, 2021
    Paul Lee SMB vs TNT Finals
    PHOTO: Jerome Ascano

    PAUL Lee said the memories of losing Game 7 of the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup finals still lingers, and he will do his best that it won’t happen again this time as Magnolia returns for a title bid against TNT.

    Lee was part of the Hotshots team that lost against the Beermen in two consecutive tries from 2018 and 2019. But two years ago was a painful one as Alex Cabagnot saved San Miguel on its way to a 72-71 win in the do-or-die contest.

    Paul Lee: 2019 loss still lingers

    The 32-year-old Lee said Magnolia was so close to beating a San Miguel team that was so intact after it raced to a 3-2 lead into the series only to drop the final two games.

    “Until now, it’s still painful every time,” Lee said during Tuesday’s pre-finals virtual press conference. “Every time kasi, ‘yung chance namin na ‘yun, ‘yun ‘yung pinaka-close and against San Miguel talaga, sobrang buong buo ‘yung San Miguel na ‘yun. One basket away lang kami to win the all-Filipino.”

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    Even with three titles under his belt, Lee has yet to win a Philippine Cup title ever since the former University of the East guard was drafted second overall in the 2011 PBA draft by Rain or Shine.

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    Lee is determined to break that drought, and he believes Magnolia has a bigger chance this time of winning a championship even with a tough opponent in the top-seed TNT.

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    “It’s another chance to win my first all-Filipino championship. It’s my 10th year sa PBA, but until now, wala pa rin akong all-Filipino,” said Lee.

    Lee pointed out the presence of Calvin Abueva, acquired in a trade with Phoenix, as a key to Magnolia being an added spark to the Hotshots core.

    “Etong run namin ngayon is a different group pero ‘yung core namin, intact. And again, with the help of Calvin, siguro mas mataas ‘yung chance na makuha namin ang championship. ‘Yung nabibigay ni Calvin, sobrang iba talaga. Ang dami niyang napuno na pagkukulang namin sa team.

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      Lee said Magnolia has put in the hardwork in order to return to the finals after they also missed the chance in 2020 after a quarterfinals exit in the Clark bubble, and the Magnolia guard said he doesn’t want their effort to go into waste.

      “I-take advantage lang namin ‘yung opportunity na ‘yun para hindi uli namin maramdaman ‘yung ganung sakit uli,” said Lee.

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      PHOTO: Jerome Ascano
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