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No rest for the weary as Paul Lee refuses to get bothered by bum ankle

Paul Lee simply does not want to be bothered anymore by the left ankle injury he has been nursing prior to the 2022 PBA Governors’ Cup semifinals.

Though the pain is undeniable, the Magnolia star took such an approach in Game Four of their best-of-five series against Meralco, Wednesday.

It’s all mental, as some would say, and that enabled him to go back to his usual ways. The gunslinging guard fired 17 points, helping the Hotshots avert early elimination by obliterating their budding rivals, 94-73.

“This is not the right time para isipin ko pa ‘to,” Lee offered moments after the match at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.

“Kumbaga, ginamble ko na from the start e, so tuloy-tuloy na lang din. So I just played through it.”

It was easily his best performance in the semis thus far. The 33-year-old manufactured just a total of 23 points in the first two games, before scoring a lowly five markers in Game Three — his second-worst production in the tilt.

“Talagang namamaga ‘yung paa ni Paul. But ‘yung bata, sobrang gustong-gusto niya manalo,” lauded Hotshots head coach Chito Victolero.

“Gustong-gusto niya maglaro at tumulong sa team. I know this guy. Talagang siya ‘yung leader namin. Talagang pinakita niya sa amin ‘yung leadership niya. Malaking bagay yung presence ni Paul,” added the champion mentor.

Still, there were times in the match that the pain appeared unbearable for Lee, especially in the second half that saw him lie on the floor, writhing.

But he did not want to stay out long. He braved through it and even saw action in the final minutes as part of the crew that inflated the lead to 22, before being subbed out of the game for good with 2:17 left to play.

#ReadMore  Magnolia's 'Pinatubo Duo' tops PBA BPC race as Mikey Williams drops to no. 4

The mere fact that their backs were pushed against the wall — wherein a loss would mean the end to their season — was enough to fuel the Tondo native.

“I just kept my mental sa game, yung focus ko make sure lang na nandun sa game, kasi ganun ka-importante yung laro talaga,” said Lee, who also had five assists and two steals in the 25 minutes and 27 seconds he played.

“Our backs are against the wall na, so ‘yung mga ganung bagay, hindi na natin muna iisipin ‘yun,” added the 10-year veteran.

Now, it’s about maximizing the next 24 hours or so for Lee before the crucial Game Five on Friday, where it’s either win or go home for both squads.

“Same same. This is not the right time na parang maisip ko pa siya. Bothering, pero I got more than twenty-four hours para makapagpahinga and ipa-subside ‘yung nararamdaman ko ngayon,” said the one-time BPC.

All PBA games stream live on GigaPlay. Download it now on Android or IOS.

The second game of each playdate is also livestreamed on SMART Sports.

Written By

Oftentimes on the sidelines. Forever a student of the game. Morayta-bred.

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