PAUL Lee hit his face so hard on the Mall of Asia playing floor on Friday night that he lost a front tooth late in Magnolia’s 90-89 loss to San Miguel Beer in the main game of the PBA Governors Cup.
The incident forced the Hotshots to take the heady playmaker out of the game with the defending champions trailing, 87-88, and 2:53 left in the game clock.
By then, Lee already had 22 points on 5-of-7 shooting from three-point range. The accident was reminiscent of another incident during Game 3 of the 2015 Commissioner’s Cup finals between Rain or Shine and Talk `N Text when he also lost a tooth following an elbow courtesy of import Ivan Johnson.
Although in pain, he was still gracious enough to talk to members of the media afterwards, his mouth covered with a white face mask.
“OK lang, part of the game. That’s it,” said Lee. “Tumama yung mukha ko kaagad. Yun lang ang naramdaman ko. Yung ngipin talaga yung tumama,. 'Yun pa rin yung dating natatamaan. Dentist lang ulit tapos balik na sa dati.”
Lee managed to shrug off the cobwebs and still returned in the final 8.6 seconds with Magnolia trailing by one. Mark Barroca however, failed to convert a potential game-winning jumper as the Beermen escaped with the thrilling win.
“Medyo dizzy lang nung una. Mabuti naman naka-recover nung medyo nakapag-pahinga ng kaunti,” said Lee. “Pero medyo nag-start na siyang kumirot ngayon.”
Lee was not the only Magnolia player who was hurt during the homestretch as import Romeo Travis sprained his right ankle earlier following a mid-air collision with San Miguel guard Chris Ross.
Unlike Lee, Travis failed to finish the game.
Although the loss snapped Magnolia’s three-game winning streak, Lee isn’t concerned about the Hotshots’ current standings at 3-2.
He said the conference has a long way to go.
“Hindi naman made-determine yung championship run namin with just one game. Marami pa namang games na natitira. Matuto lang kami sa game na ito, tapos focus na kami sa next game,” he said.
Magnolia’s next game will be on Wednesday against Blackwater at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.
But first things first for Lee. He has to see his dentist as soon as possible.