PBA

PBA: Lee sets sights on Manila Clasico as Magnolia fully recovers from slow start

By Paul Lintag on Apr 03, 2019 07:14 PM

After a long fight just to make the playoffs, the Hotshots turn their attention to the Gin Kings for what should be another explosive showdown.

Magnolia didn’t exactly have an inspiring start to the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup.

The Hotshots were 0-3 and were on the brink of elimination after a 1-4 start. Still, despite the early struggles, Magnolia found a way to somehow claim the no. 6 seed, setting up an early Manila Clasico showdown against rival Barangay Ginebra in the quarterfinals.

Now, after a long fight just to make the playoffs, the Hotshots turn their attention to the Gin Kings for what should be another explosive showdown.

But with just a short best-of-3 series this time, the opening game becomes all the more crucial.

“Medyo napa-aga,” guard Paul Lee said on Manila Clasico.

“Crucial yung Game 1, yun yung sinasabi samin ni Coach Chito. Parang Game 7 na kasi kung sino talaga maka-una, yun na mataas ang chance manalo sa series,” he added.

Coming of a championship run in the 2018 Governors’ Cup, where they won a Manila Clasico series in the semifinals, the Hotshots had a rough end to their schedule in the All-Filipino.

At one point just before the All-Star break, Magnolia played a full set in one PBA week.

Still, while it was a daunting task, the grind helped the Hotshots get in rhythm and Magnolia closed the elimination round with a three-game streak to get into the top-6.

Of course, finishing inside the top-6 gets you out of the dreaded twice-to-win scenario in the first round.

“Sobrang importante samin yun [best-of-3] kasi ayaw naman namin ma-eliminate ng maaga. At least nakabawi kami sa bad start namin,” Lee said.

“Maganda naman yung  after nung three games namin sa simula, yung break naka-tulong samin. Napa-ganda lang din yung schedule namin na sunud-sunod, nakuha namin yung timing namin. Medyo mahirap, pero alam mo yun, naka-tulong din samin,” he added.

 

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