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Paul Lee believes Corpuz will step up: ‘Kailangan si Fukuda, wala si Sakuragi’

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Tiebreaker Times Paul Lee believes Corpuz will step up: 'Kailangan si Fukuda, wala si Sakuragi' Basketball News PBA  PBA Season 45 Paul Lee Marc Pingris Magnolia Hotshots Jackson Corpuz Coronavirus Pandemic

The ‘Pinoy Sakuragi’ won’t see action for Magnolia in the upcoming PBA season resumption in Clark, as Marc Pingris is reportedly nursing a foot injury. 

The 38-year-old’s absence will be huge, since the Hotshots will be lacking veterans in the bubble after PJ Simon’s decision to retire recently.

Paul Lee knows it will be tough to carry on without Pingris. So, he expects ‘Pinoy Fukuda’ to step up in the place of the ‘Pinoy Sakuragi’.

Jackson Corpuz, that is.

“Kailangan si Fukuda maraming ma-rebound, wala si Sakuragi,” the outspoken guard quipped during a guest appearance in 2OT.

Corpuz gained that label among fans last year since he resembles Fukuda, one of the characters from hit anime series Slam Dunk.

He not only turned heads due to his curly top hairdo, but also with how he was delivering the goods as Columbian’s top forward.

One of the league’s many creative fans in Brylle Co even made a poster pitting Corpuz against the ‘Pinoy Sakuragi’ himself prior to a Governors’ Cup match between the Dyip and the Hotshots.

It didn’t take long before the two cagers likened to famous anime characters found themselves playing for the same team.

Last December, the 6-foot-4 Corpuz was traded to the Hotshots in exchange for veteran slotman Aldrech Ramos in a one-for-one trade.

He then showed his value for Magnolia when he made 16 points and 13 rebounds against San Miguel in the season opener last March.

His efforts went down the drain, though, since they suffered a 78-94 loss. Still, he gave the team a glimpse of what he can bring.

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Lee expects big things from Corpuz in the upcoming season, but he also knows Corpuz needs more time to integrate with the Hotshots.

The veteran cager then decided to take him under his wing by choosing him as his roommate in the bubble.

“Actually tinanong ako ni Coach Chito [Victolero] kung sino ‘yung gusto kong roommate, si Jack talaga ‘yung pinili ko,” Lee said. “Kasi kahit anong sabihin mo, bago pa rin siya sa team eh, tapos medyo matagal ‘yung hindi kami nakapag-practice. So it’s about time na makapag-bonding kami parehas para ma-translate namin sa game.

“And kung may tanong siya about sa game, hindi na siya mahihirapan. Puwede na niya itanong agad sa akin. So hopefully magbunga ‘tong ginagawa namin ni Jack.”

For the 31-year-old, this is his way of embracing the role of a leader to the younger ones, all for the benefit of the team.

“It’s about time naman na makatulong ako sa teammate ko na iba. Para sa team din naman ‘tong ginagawa namin.”

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