MANILA, Philippines – Magnolia guard Paul Lee is optimistic that he can see action in the Hotshots’ first game of the new Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) season as he continues to recover from a nagging injury in his left knee.
The bothersome injury forced Lee to miss Game 3 of the Governors’ Cup semifinals last month, a 91-88 overtime loss that ended the Hotshots’ campaign. The same ailment forced him to pull out of the Gilas Pilipinas pool earlier this year.
However, Lee is hopeful that he can make enough progress to be ready in time for the PBA season opener on December 17.
“Ang sabi sa akin, at least makuha namin ‘yung first week ng December. Okay naman, everything is fine,” he said. “Maganda naman ang recovery ko.”
“May mga mahihirap na rin na pinapagawa sa akin, at hindi naman nagre-react ang tuhod ko. Maganda naman ang recovery,” he further explained.
“Aabot naman (sa opening day),” he confirmed. “Feeling ko, aabot naman.”
Lee acknowledged that he will have a lot of catching up to do with his teammates in terms of conditioning. Magnolia coach Chito Victolero has put a premium on conditioning as the Hotshots prepare for the new season, and Lee knows that in this regard, he is well behind.
“Kailangan ko lang humabol sa conditioning. Kasi may mga pinapagawang mga exercises sa akin, mga drills, pero I think hindi enough para ma-kundisyon talaga sa game shape,” he admitted.
“Pero okay naman ‘yung ibang teammates ko. Kundisyon na sila,” he added.
Just as he is optimistic of his recovery, Lee is similarly upbeat when asked about the Hotshots’ chances in the new season – especially as they enter it under a new banner.
“We wish na mapa-champion namin kasi ayun nga, new name,” said Lee, who averaged 13.3 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game in his first season for the Hotshots last year. “Parang new chapter sa lahat sa amin.”
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