Returning Paul Lee makes quick impact as Magnolia claims No. 1 spot

MANILA, Philippines – Life has been good to Paul Lee for the past few days.

After turning 29 on Valentine’s Day, Lee returned to the PBA hardcourt following a 3-game absence and helped the Magnolia Hotshots demolish GlobalPort Batang Pier,  96-81, Friday, February 16. That win also aborted the Magnolia Hotshots' losing skid at two games. 

In playing for the first time in two weeks after suffering an ankle sprain against the TNT KaTropa last January 27, Lee chalked up 13 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists to help Hotshots climb atop the standings with a 7-3 slate.

“Very happy na at least kahit papano nakatulong na tayo sa team. Sobrang saya lang kasi after two-game losing streak, naka-bounce back kami nang maganda,” said Lee.

(I’m very happy that at least, I helped the team. I am very happy because we bounced back big after that two-game losing streak.)

“Although hindi maganda ‘yung first half naminkumapit pa rin kami sa isa't isaGinawan namin ng paraan talaga para makuha 'tong panalo na 'to.

(Although we did not have a good first half, we held on to each other. We found a way to get this win.)

Despite looking in top shape after playing for more than 23 minutes, Lee said during the post-game interview that adrenaline was what got him through the game.

Kahit papano may iniinda pa rin ako,” said Lee. “Syempre 3 games din ako nawala so parang hyped ako sa laroMedyo excited langNgayon nararamdaman ko lang na makirot lang siya ulit.”

(There is still pain. I was away for 3 games, of course, I was hyped to play. I was a little excited. Now, I feel a little pain.)

The Tondo native said that he does not want to rush his recovery, especially since he is coming off a knee injury that sidelined him for most of the off-season. Also, the Hotshots need him as they enter the quarterfinals.

“‘Di natin alam ano mangyayari sa atin kinabukasan or what. So ingat lang din tsaka alaga langTuloy lang therapy.”

(We don't know what may happen tomorrow. I just have to take care of myself and continue therapy.)

Lee and the Hotshots will face the Meralco Bolts on February 24 in Cagayan de Oro. –

Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.