Paul Lee had realized something on Christmas Day this 2017: Barangay Ginebra San Miguel still remains as the Magnolia Hotshots’ thorn on side in their quest of ending their conferences-long Finals drought.
The Lethal Weapon saw right before his very eyes how the taller Gin Kings continued its’ mastery over the franchise formerly known as Purefoods for three straight Yuletide seasons now, as they bowed to a 78-89 defeat.
“Siguro yun nga, [Ginebra is] one of the humps na kailangan namin lampasan para makapunta kami sa championship,” reflected Lee after their Christmas Clasico affair, Monday night at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.
Prior to the opening of the PBA’s 43rd season, majority of the team governors have agreed that Ginebra, along with San Miguel and TNT, is the team to beat this season. And that is what the Barangay had proven this Christmas Day.
Ginebra spent the majority of the match sitting at the driver’s seat, being able to provide answers in everything Magnolia threw at them. Moreover, their stifling defense limited the Hotshots to just a measly 36.4 percent shooting.
“Yung shooting namin. Of course credit sa defense ng Ginebra,” said the second-year Hotshot, who also fell victim to Ginebra’s defense as he shot just 7-of-18 — far from the 11-of-14 (30 points) he made in their win over Alaska Aces last December 20.
“Yun. And yung rebounding din,” the sixth-year veteran added, as Magnolia got out-rebounded by 12, 45-57.
It was definitely not a merry Christmas for the Hotshots, all because of Ginebra. But Lee reminded that the Barangay shouldn’t just be their main concern in their bid of ending their Finals slump, as 10 more teams are also in contention.
“Of course kailangan every game ibigay namin best namin kahit sino kalaban namin,” said the 28-year-old.
“Kasi kung yun lang titignan namin, baka mabalewala namin yung iba.”