Paul Lee gropes for form in return | Inquirer Sports

Paul Lee gropes for form in return

/ 11:03 PM January 05, 2016
Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

Rain or Shine guard Paul Lee checks his head after colliding with San Miguel Beer forward Arwind Santos in the fourth quarter of Game 1 of their best-of-seven PBA Philippine Cup semifinals series Tuesday night at Mall of Asia Arena. Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

It wasn’t the kind of comeback Paul Lee had in mind.

Lee played for the first time this season after undergoing surgery on his left knee and at first, it appeared as if it would be a triumphant return for Rain or Shine’s star guard.

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But just when it seemed like Lee had helped Rain or Shine get a 1-0 lead in their semifinals series, San Miguel Beer mounted a furious fightback that wiped out the Painters 22-point lead.

“Malungkot yung first game back ko kasi talo eh. Medyo masama yung first game ko. Akala ko okay na kasi lamang kami all throughout tapos nahabol kami sa fourth quarter,” Lee said.

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And to make matters worse for the 26-year-old Gilas standout, he had a couple of costly turnovers in the final minute. He also missed a potential game-tying triple with under 20 seconds left that went in and out.

Lee rued Rain or Shine poor fourth quarter showing where it committed six turnovers and 6-of-19 from the field after shooting 52% in the first three quarters.

“Dapat hindi na umabot dun. Lamang kami sa start ng fourth quarter pero nahabol kami. Outscored kami, 38-14. Masyadong malaki yun, 24 lamang nila sa amin. Dapat hindi na maulit yung ganung klase ng quarter,” he said. “Siguro lesson na para sa amin ito, na dapat handa kami sa mga itatapon nilang depensa.”

Lee also admitted that he himself was surprised that he finished the game for the E-Painters. “Nagulat lang din ako na natapos ko yung game. Hindi ko inexpect, pero ready ako kapag ginamit ako ni coach Yeng,” he said, admitting that him being a step slow could’ve also been a factor in those final errors.

“Lalabas at lalabas na wala ako sa timing. Kahit sa practice nangyayari, napapasa ko sa walang tao,” Lee said, referring to his errant pass with his team trailing by three with under 40 seconds remaining.

Lee had eight points, two rebounds, one assist, a steal and three turnovers in 17 minutes and 22 seconds of action, but he and his coach Yeng Guiao know he has to be his old self for his team to beat San Miguel.

“We will need him in this series,” Guiao told reporters after Rain or Shine squandered a 20-point buffer in the fourth quarter in a 109-105 loss Tuesday night.

“Makakarecover din ako. Feeling ko hindi pa rin ako 100 percent. Tuloy pa rin sa recovery. Hintay lang ako,” Lee said.

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TAGS: 2016 Philippine Cup, Game 1, Paul Lee, PBA, Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, San Miguel Beermen, Semifinals, Yeng Guiao
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