ANTIPOLO CITY, Philippines – Magnolia may have snapped a seven-game losing skid against Barangay Ginebra, but Paul Lee downplayed the Hotshots' achievements, knowing full well the sleeping bear they just poked awake.
“That's nothing. The job is not yet finished,” said Lee after the Hotshots downed the Gin Kings, 106-98, to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five PBA Governor’s Cup semifinals on Saturday, November 10.
“Knowing coach Tim [Cone of Ginebra], you beat him once, he's gonna beat you twice. We need to be ready. The good thing is we have the experience already with what happened. We need to be ready for Game 2 and forget about Game 1, that’s done. Zero-zero again.”
Magnolia import Romeo Travis poured in 37 points and 16 rebounds, but it was the veteran sniper Lee who came through the clutch with 27 big markers on an 11-of-19 (57.9%) shooting plus 4 boards, 4 steals and 3 assists at the start of their Manila Clasico duel.
However, the Hotshots gave up 39 points in the first quarter – 20 from Justin Brownlee alone – but recovered well and dictated the tempo all throughout the 2nd half.
Despite the overwhelming support of the Antipolo crowd in Ynares Center for Ginebra, Lee and company silenced them all with a constant rain of rally-stopping shots and great defense.
“Just keep believing lang na kaya naming manalo against Ginebra. Yun yung battle cry namin ngayon,” said Lee.
“Si coach Johnny [Abarrientos] nag-start noon, siya kasi nags-scout pag Ginebra so sabi niya, you need to believe. Pinupukpok sa amin na we need to believe na we can win, we can do this as a team. Lahat naniwala, collective effort at the end of the game, nakuha namin yung panalo."
(We just need to keep believing that we can win against Ginebra. That’s our battle cry for today. Coach Johnny started that since he’s the scout for Ginebra so he said, you need to believe. They instilled that we need to believe that we can win and we can do this as a team. Everyone believed, we showed collective effort at the end of the game, so we got the win.)
The Hotshots will go for a commanding 2-0 lead in Game 2 at 7 pm on Monday, November 12, at the Araneta Coliseum. – Rappler.com