Paul Lee didn’t hide that Magnolia likes its chances of entering the 2021 Honda PBA Philippine Cup Finals especially now that it’s nearing such a destination.
The Hotshots on Wednesday night beat Meralco through a 92-78 decision for a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven semis series, moving just a couple of wins away from booking another trip to the Big Dance since the 2019 all-Filipino tilt.
“Of course, sobrang gusto namin ‘tong chance namin,” said the 32-year-old moments after the match at the Don Honorio Ventura State University Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga. “Two wins away, makakapasok na sa championship.”
Reaching the finale would definitely be a great bounce-back from the heartbreak they suffered in Clark last year. Expected to reach the Philippine Cup Finals for the third time in a row, Magnolia was given the boot by Phoenix in the quarters.
Lee, however, refuses to look too far ahead. The series isn’t over yet, he pointed out, and Game Three on Friday is where all their focus is on.
The former BPC also expects no less than a fightback from the Bolts, who are heading into the match with all sorts of motivation.
Besides looking to avoid being down 0-3, all of Norman Black’s wards will have to do a little bit of everything as top big man Raymond Almazan remains uncertain for the 3:00 p.m. game due to a left ankle injury.
“We all know naman ‘yung Meralco team eh, kung ano ‘yung kaya nilang gawin,” said Lee, whose side lost to Meralco twice before winning the semis opener. “It’s up to us na kung gusto talaga naming makapasok ng Finals.
“Pero ‘yun nga, ayaw na muna naming i-claim,” added the three-time PBA champion.
“Kumbaga, one game at a time muna kami.”
Magnolia head coach Chito Victolero, meanwhile, echoed his star guard’s sentiments. “We treat every game as a very important game,” he said,
“Kung ano man ‘yon — kung Game One, Game Two, or Game Three man ‘yan, it’s very important para sa amin,” the former Coach of the Year continued.
“We’ll treat the game possession by possession.”