Magnolia star guard Paul Lee remained proud of his team’s performance in the PBA Philippine Cup despite falling short once again against TNT in their second-straight all-Filipino playoff duel.
“Very proud pa rin kasi we fought until the end. Ayun naman ‘yung gusto ni coach eh, nag-stick kami sa game plan 'di lang talaga pinalad, kinapos lang talaga,” said Lee in the aftermath of the Hotshots 87-74 loss in Game 6 of their race-to-four affair.
Lee also chose to look at the silver lining of another exit at the hands of TNT which also defeated them last season in the finals of the same conference. Lee pointed out that compared to their previous encounter where they lost 4-1, the Hotshots played better on the defensive end this time around.
“I think compared dun sa una naming series sa TNT much better yung pinakita namin defensively,” said the veteran combo-guard. “Pero ayun nga, TNT is a great team so figure out namin kung ano ‘yung dapat naming gawin pagbalik namin next conference.
“Yun lang yung sinabi sa amin ni coach wala lang titigil sa amin,” he added.
Those improvements, however, were still not enough for Magnolia to force a deciding Game 7 on Wednesday.
While it’s true that the Hotshots managed to show more force on the defensive end, evident when they limited high-scoring guard Mikey Williams to just 15 points in Game 6, Magnolia lost steam towards the end, especially when star forward Calvin Abueva fouled out, allowing TNT to pull away for good in the final frame.
“Malaking bagay (Abueva fouling out) kasi isa si Calvin sa nagbibigay ng energy sa amin makita mo lang siya na tumatakbo sa loob so that’s how big Calvin is nung nawala siya,” said Lee.
Magnolia now shifts its focus to the Commissioner’s Cup which will begin on Sept. 21.
“Balik din kami kaagad kasi magstart na rin ata yung second conference so break lang kami ng araw tapos balik na kami.”