by Waylon Galvez
Fear was the first thing that came in Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok ace guard Paul Lee’s mind when he hurt his right middle finger in Game 3 of the PBA Philippine Cup finals series against San Miguel Beer last Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“Natakot din ako siyempre… para akong nahiwa ng blade sa sobrang sakit e,” said Lee, who finished the game with 15 points, three rebounds and seven assists as he emerged from the dugout.
Lee injured his right middle finger with nine minutes to play in the fourth period when he tried to steal the ball from SMB’s Matt Ganuelas-Rosser, but accidentally hit the latter’s knee.
The former University of the East star player grimaced in pain, but his fear of structural damage was quickly put away when team PT Nick Ocampo examined him right away.
“It was a jammed finger, no damage or anything serious. We had it taped together with his ring finger to immobilize it. We’ll check it again during practice Monday and Tuesday,” said Ocampo.
Magnolia is already without Marc Pingris (ACL) and the sight of Lee in pain only brings back memories of his injuries during critical times in his PBA career since he turned professional in 2011.
In his rookie season with former team Rain or Shine, Lee suffered a dislocated left shoulder during Game 2 of the 2012 Governors’ Cup finals opposite Magnolia – then known as San Mig Coffee.
The 29-year-old Lee also went down with knee injuries several times during the playoffs, including the semifinals of last season’s Governors’ Cup against Meralco. In the elimination round of the Philippine Cup, a sprained left ankle sidelined Lee for several games.
Lee said he is ready for Game 4 tomorrow also at the Big Dome after his team sustained a 111-87 defeat in the last game as Magnolia trails San Miguel 2-1 in the best-of-seven series.
“Wala ito, lalaro ako,” said Lee.