Paul Lee hopes that Magnolia can devise an effective defensive plan against Bay Area as the two best teams of the ongoing PBA Commissioner’s Cup figure in a highly-anticipated match-up on Saturday at the Philsports Arena.
The one-time BPC is aware of how the Dragons have been playing thus far with Myles Powell back in tow and that’s exactly where his worry stems from, offering that the guest team has become much faster with the ex-NBA guard.
“Hopefully, tumama ‘yung ide-depensa namin kasi sobrang fast-paced ng Bay Area noong si Powell yung ginamit nila. Mas lalong bumilis sila,” he said moments after the Hotshots’ 85-80 win over San Miguel Wednesday night.
The third to clinch a quarterfinal spot, Magnolia is coming in as the no. 1 seed with an 8-1 record, and doesn’t have any plan whatsoever of stopping as it aims to bolster its bid of a coveted Top Two finish against Bay Area.
But it surely won’t be an easy task to accomplish as the Hotshots will have to get past the very same team that’s sitting just right behind them. The first to reach the quarters, the Dragons boast of an 8-2 slate.
And a big reason behind the new ball club’s resurgence of sorts is Powell, who was brought back in lieu of fellow ex-NBAer Andrew Nicholson.
The 25-year-old gunslinger led the team to a 4-0 start, and has starred once again in their dominant wins against Rain or Shine and NLEX.
Their 120-87 rout of the Elasto Painters saw him drop 50 in just three quarters, showing no rust even if he was out for about a month. Then he fired 36 in a full line just two nights later in their 118-98 mauling of the Road Warriors.
Powell is undefeated still with Bay Area, who suffered both of its losses with the 32-year-old Nicholson although the latter was as productive also with gaudy averages of 38.5 points on 53.1-percent clip, on top of 11.5 rebounds.
“Iba ‘yung tempo nila noong si Nicholson,” offered Lee. “Pero noong Powell ‘yung ginamit nila, parang sanay na sanay sila doon sa tao kasi ‘yun yung nagdi-dictate ng lahat. So kilangan magawan namin ng paraan.”
Much awaited as well is Lee and Powell going head-to-head in a clash of prolific scorers, but the 33-year-old would want to get ready for it defensively.
“Hindi naman ako siguro ilalagay ni Coach Chito kay Myles, pero ready lang ako kung sakaling ma-cross matchup ako sa kanya,” he said.
“Ready lang ako, and sasandalan ko ‘yung kung ano ‘yung ibibigay naming game plan sa kanya ‘pag nagkaroon kami ng cross matchup.”
That’s because defense is what the Hotshots of coach Chito Victolero have become known for and that’s what they will always bank on, Lee said.
“Kung shootout, talo na kami agad doon. Kasi lagi naman kaming nire-remind ni Coach Chito na hindi ‘yun yung team namin,” he said. “Kapag lumaban kami ng offense to offense, hindi talaga kami mananalo in any game.
“Kailangan namin dumepensa as a team. Lagi niyang sinasabi sa amin na yung big offense namin is yung depensa namin.”