Paul Lee pleased after giving fans competitive PBA All-Star Game
ILOILO CITY—Paul Lee took pride in the competitive nature of Sunday’s PBA All-Star Game that saw Team Japeth prevailing over Team Scottie before a packed crowd at City of Passi Arena here.
“It’s a good feeling that we were able to give the fans here in Passi a competitive game,” Lee said in Filipino during a postgame dinner hosted by the family of former Letran cager and Passi councilor Andrei Pantin.
Veering away from the outcome of past editions, the game showed more than just a semblance of making an effort to play defense, especially when the score was tight in the final minutes.
In fact, only two three-point dunks, implemented to add flavor to the extravaganza, were made by both teams during the game courtesy of Chris Newsome of the winning side and Calvin Abueva of Team Scottie.
One play late in the contest saw Team Scottie’s Kevin Alas landing awkwardly after fouling Team Japeth’s Jamie Malonzo, who was looking to complete a dunk.
“We saw what happened in the recent NBA All-Star Game,” Lee continued, referring to last month’s event that left a sour taste in the fan’s mouth due to the lack of defense. “It was not a good sight to see and there were a lot of bad comments on what transpired.
“[Team Japeth coach Tim Cone] reminded us about that game, and everyone responded. The team decided to go all out and treat it like a real game. It’s good that both sides wanted to win. There were players who were diving on the floor and they didn’t want Jamie to make that dunk.
“Those things are great for the fans, the PBA and the next All-Star Game because people will expect the same competitiveness,” he added.
Lee was hailed the best player of the game, thanks in large part to his incredible shooting from the special four-point line.
Known for making the long bomb his specialty, the Magnolia star knocked down seven from the 27-foot line on his way to 32 points.
“It’s a bonus for me,” Lee said. “Coach Tim told us to play hard and everything will follow. But getting the award was a team effort because my teammates were the ones setting me up. Credit to everyone because they didn’t want to lose.”