Despite the early struggles of Magnolia in the PBA restart, guard Paul Lee said he feels they are capable of booking a spot in the playoffs of the Philippine Cup inside the bubble in Clark, Pampanga.
After a three-game skid, Magnolia won two straight on back-to-back nights, defeating TNT Tropang Giga 102-92 last Wednesday, and TerraFirma DYIP 103-89 last Thursday.
“Magandang panalo kasi medyo umangat kami (in the standings) after nga ng tatlong sunod na talo namin – mga dikit na talo sayang naipanalo sana namin,” said Lee, who is now on his 10th year in the pro league.
Lee fired 29 points, Rome dela Rosa added 17 points, while Ian Sangalang contributed 16 points and 10 rebounds, and Jackson Corpuz chipped in 10 points against Dyip.
The win allowed Magnolia to occupy solo eighth spot with a 4-4 record.
This conference, only the top eight teams will advance in the quarterfinal playoff, with the top four enjoying a twice-to-beat advantage against the bottom four in the crossover playoff.
The semifinal is a best-of-five series, while the championship round is a seven-game showdown.
Magnolia coach Chito Victolero gave his team a rest day Friday, and according to Lee, they only watched film to review and map their strategy against Rain or Shine–his former team–which they will play Saturday.
“Nag-walkthrough lang kami in preparation for our game against Rain or Shine… hindi na kami yung talagang nag-ensayo. Sana nga magtuluy-tuloy na din for us,” said Lee.
“Kasi wala naman na ako nakikitang reason para bumalik kami sa mga nagagawa naming mali during the three losses. Na-correct naman namin yung mga bagay na yun kaya nanalo kami last game.”
Lee said in the three defeats, they were not able to protect leads, and when that happened, their confidence level was low. In their game against TNT, they were able to address that problem.
Now, Lee hopes for consistency especially that the playoffs are coming.
“Siguro yung consistency lang ang kailangan namin na dapat ma-improve. Magandang takbo na yung nagagawa namin, sa play si depensa, adjusted na kami, kaya tingin ko maging consistent lang kami,” he said.
Lee said it’s not easy to regain their form and consistency after being away from the game for seven months.
The team began its campaign this season with a loss to San Miguel Beer back in March, before the suspension of games because of lockdown in hopes to contain the COVID-19 outbreak.
After seven months, the PBA returned with a bubble tournament.
“May ilang nawala din kasi sa amin and nadagdag, like si Jackson. Pero ngayon nakikita naman yung takbo ng team on boths ends. Bigay lang namin yung best every game,” Lee said.