NOT even a heartbreaker of a loss by Magnolia can dampen Paul Lee’s birthday celebration.
Just the thought of observing his 30th birthday for the first time with his four-month old baby was more than enough to ease the pain of the Hotshots’ 75-74 loss to Rain or Shine in the PBA Philippine Cup Wednesday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Lee finished with 10 points, four rebounds, and four assists on the eve of his natal day as he had the Hotshots on the verge of scoring their breakthrough win in the season-opening conference after converting off a spin move against Gabe Norwood for the tough bucket and a 74-72 Magnolia lead.
That was until two-time league MVP James Yap came through with a completed three-point play in the final 3.2 seconds of the game spoiled what would have been a grand celebration for both Lee and Magnolia.
“Tough loss. We thought sa amin na yung game,” lamented Lee after the Hotshots suffered their third straight loss to remain as the only winless team in the All-Filipino tournament.
“Sayang yung bonus, pampakain din sana,” added a smiling Lee.
The Magnolia guard will continue to work on Valentine’s Day as he’s not exempted from practicing with the Team Pilipinas side that is bound for the FIBA World Cup qualifiers, even on his birthday.
But a simple dinner with his family, including baby Tokyo, awaits him when work is finally done.
“Yun ang pinakamaganda doon, magbi-birthday ako na kasama yung baby ko. Wala ng mas okay pa dun. Yun na yung pinakamasarap na feeling sa birthday ko na mangyari,” said Lee.
Yet the fact remains the Hotshots have yet to score a win two months after running away with the Governors Cup championship.
And that isn't lost in Lee’s mind.
“We need to figure out kung ano talaga yung problema ng team or kung ano yung dapat naming gawin,” said Lee.
Still, he wants to look at things on the positive side rather than focus on the negativity.
“Kung anuman yung nasa harap namin doon na lang kami mag-focus, kasi baka lalo lang mapasama kapag inisip naming yung 0-3 kami,” he said.
“Pero yun nga laging nire-remind ni coach Chito (Victolero), yung sense of urgency kailangan nandiyan na talaga kasi mahirap malubog talaga.”