Stifled by NLEX defense, Lee vows to bounce back in Game 2
Three nights before NLEX’s semifinals opener against Magnolia, coach Yeng Guiao described Paul Lee as the Road Warriors “biggest problem.”
Heading into Game 2, the burden is now on Lee, who couldn’t get anything going in the Hotshots 88-87 loss on Saturday night in Game 1.
“They had a great game plan against me. I need to figure out what I can do next game. I need to bounce back,” Lee admitted in Filipino. “I guess I didn’t prepare enough for this game.”
Lee was held scoreless in the first half and had only eight points on 3-of-10 shooting from the field with five turnovers in 28 minutes.
The 29-year-old Lee didn’t deny that NLEX’s defense disrupted him throughout the game.
The Road Warriors smothered Lee with multiple defenders, starting with lanky forward Kenneth Ighalo and ending with fleet-footed Kevin Alas.
“I had a hard time. I got really confused. They threw different kinds of defenses at me,” he said.
“Kenneth Ighalo started it and then, Alex Mallari and then in the end it was Kevin Alas. You really can’t assign just one person to defend Paul,” Guiao said. “It takes a lot of energy, it takes a lot of stamina to guard him that’s why I’m lucky we have the guys who made the sacrifice and Kevin was really a big part of that defensive rotation.”
Guiao and Lee spent five seasons together at Rain or Shine where they also won a couple of championships. And with that familiarity, Guiao knows his former player we’ll be back much stronger in Game 2.
“We tried to find ways how to control Paul and we actually succeeded, at least partly and we won the game. I know Paul. He knows we’re preparing hard for him so next game he’ll definitely try to bounce back so we have to be ready for him again,” Guiao said.
Guiao drafted Lee as the second overall pick and guided him in his ascent as one of the league’s brightest stars.
“I find it really ironic that for five years, starting the first five years of his career in the PBA, you coached him and you nurtured him and the time comes you find a way to stop him. Before, you want to help him become a better player now, you want to stop him. As I said, it’s a mixed feeling, but I’m still happy for Paul. We worked hard for him to get to where he is right now.”