PAUL Lee proved his coach’s main concern was unfounded as he sizzled for a game-high 29 points and led Magnolia past Terrafirma 103-89 yesterday, the Hotshots’ third straight win in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart 5G-powered AUF Sports Arena in Angeles City.
Hardly showing any signs of physical and mental fatigue after a 27-point effort less than 16 hours before, Lee was efficiency personified this time around by converting seven of his 10 shots, including five triples.
The combo guard’s performance seemed to rub off on his teammates, especially the frontcourt trio of Rome dela Rosa, Ian Sangalang and Jackson Corpuz, as the Hotshots found moved into the top eight with an even 4-4 slate.
Coach Chito Victolero was very pleased with his team’s performance that came after they beat TNT 102-92 in the third game of last Wednesday’s quadruple header.
“It was a very hard game last night,” admitted Victolero. “’Yun ‘yung worry namin ng coaching staff, how to recover ‘yung legs. ‘Yung mga players ko, sabi ko lang sa kanila, try to rest.”
Meralco likewise put itself in the mix for a lofty playoff spot after surviving Rain or Shine 85-78.
The Bolts worked on all cylinders during an explosive third quarter and did just enough in the endgame to sweep their own back-to-back games.
With a 5-3 record Meralco took over temporary fourth spot from Rain or Shine, which dropped to 4-3.
Terrafirma was supposed to be fresher, having last seen action two days before.
The Dyip did come out strong, even leading by as much as 38-28 in the second quarter.
But once Lee’s sustained brilliance, coupled with Terrafirma’s inconsistent game that showed as the game wore on, ultimately spelled the difference and the Dyip absorbed yet another loss for a 0-7 card.