YENG Guiao’s familiarity with Paul Lee immediately came to fore in the opener of the PBA Philippine Cup semifinals after NLEX held the Magnolia Pambansang Manok gunner to a single digit output in a pulsating 88-87 Road Warriors win Saturday night.
Lee shot just 3-of-10 from the field to finish with eight points, three rebounds, and three assists, while committing five of the Hotshots’ 22 turnovers. He could have finished with a lesser output had he not converted on a three-pointer in the final 4.5 seconds for the final score.
Guiao, who handled Lee for five years while the two was still with Rain or Shine, admitted containing his former player wasn’t easy, employing different defenders against the former University of the East standout, from Kenneth Ighalo, Alex Mallari, to Kevin Alas.
“Hindi puwedng isa lang talaga ang i-assign mo okay Paul,” said the NLEX coach.
The ploy of course, was not lost to Lee, acknowledging his former coach made things difficult for him.
“Nahirapan din ako. Naguluhan ako sa iba’t-ibang depensa na ibinigay sa akin,” he said after the Game One loss at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Lee added playing for Guiao, who also stands as his wedding godfather, during the first few years of his pro career, factored for his struggle on the floor, which saw him went scoreless in the first half.
“Maganda yung game plan sa akin. I need to figure out next game kung ano yung gagawin ko,” he said. “Hindi siguro enough yung preparation ko going to this game.”
But for someone who knows Lee so well, Guiao is bracing for a big comeback by the Magnolia veteran come Game 2 on Monday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“I know Paul. He knows pinaghahandaan ko siya. So sa next game, babawi yun so kailangan maghanda uli kami,” said the NLEX mentor.
Lee is ready to face the challenge.
“Wala naman tayong ibang gagawin kundi bumawi. Bounce back lang,” he said.