Paul Lee was the nightmare of the Ginebra faithful in the first two games of their best-of-seven semifinals series in the 2016-17 PBA Philippine Cup. The proud son of Tondo, Manila averaged 17.5 points and only had 1 turnover during those two games, providing the Star Hotshots clutch baskets to seal the series lead.
But with Ginebra’s back against the wall Monday evening, the Gin Kings played as the aggressor on both ends — effectively turning the hunter into the hunted.
Ginebra, the league’s stingiest defense during the elimination round, held Star to a nine-year low scoring output, scoring just 62 points on a nightmarish 29 percent shooting clip.
For his part, the 27-year-old Paul Lee struggled with the plethora of defenders coach Tim Cone threw at him. From lanky wing defenders Aljon Mariano and Kevin Ferrer to stucky Sol Mercado, everyone did their part to stop Paul Lee, who finished the game with just seven points on 3-of-13 shooting and two turnovers.
“It’s not my day. Hindi naman araw araw pasko e.
“Hindi naman one guy yung nag-stop. The whole team talagang papahirapan ka. Iba ibang look ang bibigay nila sa ‘yo so I need to adjust to their defense,” the six-year league veteran after their 73-62 loss.
But it was not just Lee who struggled. His three backcourtmates, Jiovani Jalalon, Justin Melton, and Mark Barroca shot a combined 9-of-25 from the field that hampered any momentum they wanted to gain when Ginebra was making their late-game rally.
“It’s not our day, it’s not my day and credit to Ginebra’s defense,” Lee conceded.
Though sounding defeated, Lee knows that they are still at an advantage in this series. And by the looks of it, they already know what they will do come Wednesday as they try to recover from this crushing defeat and build an imposing 3-1 lead.
“We started slow. Masyado kaming sumabay sa gusto nila na mabagal lang yung laro. Titignan namin lahat yan sa viewing namin tomorrow,” the two-time PBA champion said.