Paul Lee doubling efforts on both ends as Magnolia heads to semis
With stakes higher than ever, Magnolia knows that making a deep run in to the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup means doing thing that are not usually part of the roles of the players.
For those tasked to deliver in offense, that means working just as hard, or even harder, on the other end.
“It’s not about scoring this playoffs because the defense will tighten up here,” said Paul Lee. “You really have to work hard and be willing to do the little things to get the win.”
The star guard has been living up to that, crashing the boards and proving to be as lethal on the defensive end as he is on offense.
Lee grabbed 13 rebounds to pair up with his 14 points as he emerged as one of the key cogs in Magnolia’s fightback from 20 points down and score the 86-79 quarterfinal victory over GlobalPort on Tuesday.
As expected, no playoff game will be a walk in the park and the Batang Pier gave the Hotshots all they could handle, jumping on the listless two-seed to grab the early 6-26 deficit.
However, Lee lauded his side’s resolve in the comeback as it gave Magnolia a big test it passed with flying colors ahead of the bigger wars.
“We showed character and that’s big for us here in the playoffs because we showed no panic,” he said. “We held on to each other until we’re able to get back in the game.”
The win gave the Hotshots all the momentum they need as they turn their attention to the semifinals, where they await the winner of the NLEX-Alaska series.
Make no mistake, though. May it be the Road Warriors or the Aces, Lee said that the Hotshots are willing to take on all comers in their quest to return to the championship dance.
“We already have the experience as a group. We’ve been here before, we’re happy to get back in the semis, but this is not our end goal,” he said.
“It’s about time we move past the semis.”