TERRIFIC 12: PBA stint has helped Thunders' Lee Gwan Hee play well abroad

Paul Lintag on Sep 20, 2018 01:15 PM
PBA stint has helped Thunders' Lee Gwan Hee play well abroad
"Because of the time I spent in the Philippines, I have confidence playing in abroad," Samsung Thunders' Lee Gwan Hee said via translator. (Asia League Photo via Power Sport Images)

MACAU --- Lee Gwan Hee credits the Philippines for his improving basketball performance.

After the Seoul Samsung Thunders swept Group D Wednesday to advance to the semifinals of the Asia League's Terrific 12 tournament here, a Korean journalist asked Lee a question that prompted him to recall his first and only stint in the PBA.

The question was in the neighborhood of why does Lee play better internationally compared to Korea according to a translator and Lee answered like only he can.

"Maybe Korea isn't the place where I need to play," Lee joked, drawing laughter from the foreign media present at the Studio City Event Center.

Lee, one of Seoul Samsung's top locals, averaged 8.4 points, 2.4 rebounds, 1.2 assists, and 1.1 steals in the 2017-2018 KBL season.

[Related: SUPER 8: Long Lions survive Thunders to win crown in Macau]

However, the 30-year-old Korean has been balling lately. In the Asia League's Super 8 two months ago where the Thunders finished in second place, Lee led the tournament in scoring, averaging 22.4 points on top of 7.8 rebounds.

In the Finals against the Guanzhou Long Lions, Lee led the Thunders with 34 points.

[Related: Korea's Lee Gwan Hee does not appreciate Manila traffic]

Over in the PBA, Lee played for the Phoenix Fuel Masters in the 2016 Governors' Cup, teamming up with Eugene Phelps to help the team clinch their first playoff appearance in franchise history.

Lee averaged 7.6 points in 17 minutes per game in the PBA. His best game was a 24-point explosion against no. 1 TNT KaTropa in the playoffs.

"Because of the time I spent in the Philippines, I have confidence playing in abroad," Lee said via translator.

"So that's why I can do good in Japan, Macau, and the Philippines. Definitely, the time I spent in the Philippines helped me become a better player," he added.

Lee has another Philippine connection in the Terrific 12 as his Thunders have secured the services of former La Salle star Ben Mbala sa import.

Seoul is going for the Terrific 12 title as the Thunders are in a collision course against the Long Lions to start the semifinals this weekend.

 


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