WITH another shot at a Finals appearance, Paul Lee said Rain or Shine remained hungry for success as it looks to finally complete unfinished business this season.
Lee said the Elasto Painters are raring to finally nail another championship after twice falling short last year in the finals of the Philippine Cup and Governors Cup, both against Purefoods.
Lee said the team's core of Beau Belga, JR Quinahan, and Jervy Cruz, Ryan Arana, Jeff Chan, Jireh Ibanes, TY Tang, and Chris Tiu is still intact and eager to have another run at a championship.
“At least, nandun yung gutom namin, hindi nawawala at di kami nakukuntento. Nakikita ko sa team namin, hangga’t di kami mag-champion, pinipilit pa rin namin mag-champion kasi yun na lang naman ang kulang sa amin eh, dahil nakarating kami sa finals pero di namin natatapos ng maayos,” the 25-year-old Lee shared to Spin.ph.
Rain or Shine’s decision to keep the core of the team together for the past three seasons has yielded a franchise-best seven semifinal appearances over the last eight conferences.
“Mas kundisyon kami, siyempre another year na natapos uli, so mas nadagdagan yung chemistry namin,” noted the former University of the East standout.
Rookie Jericho Cruz has been a big addition to the Rain or Shine roster this season, contributing off the bench with his 8.0 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 1.4 assists during the eliminations to help the Elasto Painters booked one of two automatic berths in the semifinals.
Cruz, however, won’t be able to join the team in the semifinals onwards after undergoing surgery on his ankle, which he injured in the team’s 100-90 elimination round victory over Barangay Ginebra.
Nonetheless, Lee remains confident even though Rain or Shine has yet to play with a complete roster this season, the team is capable of weathering the storm starting the best-of-seven semifinals against Alaska.
“Kapag may nawawala (due to injury), may pumapalit, kaya siguro, ready lang lagi yung mga players namin. Kapag may nawawala kasi may nag-step up,” he said.
“Nung nawala si Jeff (Chan due to flu), si Jericho at Jonathan Uyloan ang nag-step up.”
The semifinals tiff between the Elasto Painters and the Aces starts on Thursday at the Mall of Asia Arena.