The resumption of the PBA with the season-opening Philippine Cup is just a month away, but Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok guard Paul Lee is already excited to start the team’s campaign.
Lee said he couldn’t wait to see on the court the improved version of the Hotshots with the acquisition of Calvin Abueva, who was obtained in a trade with Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters late last month.
“This is a big improvement,” Lee told Manila Bulletin in a phone interview Wednesday. “This also improved our chances to contend for the championship – especially in the Philippine Cup.”
In last year’s all-Filipino conference inside the bubble in Pampanga, Magnolia suffered a heartbreaking quarterfinal playoff loss against Abueva and the twice-to-beat Fuel Masters.
But now that Abueva – known as “The Beast” – is on their side, Lee said they’ve become more flexible in their rotation as the former is capable of playing multiple positions on both ends.
Also, the arrival of Abueva provides extra energy as he plays with a drive and passion, although Lee cautioned that they have to control it a bit since it results in turnovers and sometimes frustrations.
“Alam naman natin na nasa adjustment pa si Calvin, at magkaka-mali at magkaka-mali siya (We all know that Calvin is still adjusting, and he’ll likely make mistakes),” said Lee.
“So we just need to be patient, we’ll help him make the adjustment to the system. Tulungan kami para makuha niya yung sistema (We’ll help him be familiar with the system),” added Lee.
The veteran guard said that when he learned of Abueva’s acquisition, he sent him a private message.
When the team resumed practice session recently, Lee said he talked to Abueva on the team’s goal, which is to keep the winning tradition of the franchise since the time of now team manager Alvin Patrimonio.
“We all know that this is a winning team… panahon pa ni Cap (captain, as Patrimonio is known in local basketball), talagang kilala as champion itong team ng Purefoods franchise (We all know that this is a winning team… even during the time of Cap (captain, as Patrimonio is known in local basketball), they’re known as a champion team this Purefoods franchise),” said Lee.
“Ito yung gusto natin ituloy sa team, ito yung sinabi ko kay Calvin. Kaya nga malaking tulong na andito siya, basta tulungan kaming lahat ma-accomplish namin yung goal na mag-champion (This is what we want to continue, this is what I told Calvin. That’s why it’s a big help that he’s here, we just need to help each other and we’ll accomplish goal to be a champion).”