Paul Lee admitted using former coach turned rival Yeng Guiao as one of the inspirations for his bounce back performance in the Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok's 99-84 victory that tied their PBA Philippine Cup semi-final series against the NLEX Road Warriors Monday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Marc Pingris' season-ending ACL injury galvanized the rest of a Hotshots team that is seeking to barge into the finals after successive semi-final defeats in all three conferences last season.
Lee erupted for 27 points on 9-of-19 shooting in the Game 2 win, redeeming himself after being held to a 3-of-10 clip for eight points two nights earlier when the Hotshots absorbed an 88-87 setback to Guiao's Road Warriors in the series opener.
"Inisip ko kung siya pa rin yung pinaglalaruan kong coach, for sure di rin siya magiging happy sa performance ko," Lee said. "Ginamit ko lang na motivation yun going into this game."
He played his first five seasons with Rain or Shine under Guiao, resulting in two championships and one Finals Most Valuable Player award. But the two went separate ways in 2016 when Guiao taking his coaching acumen to NLEX and Lee getting traded to the Hotshots for James Yap.
Guiao was not only the reason that made Lee play with a determined.
"Sinabi lang niya na ipanalo namin tong series na to para sa kanya. Then, niremind niya kami na di na maibabalik tong panahon na to," said Lee. "So kailangan maging memorable sa amin ito kasi yun nga wala na kaming magagawa, si Kuya Ping injured."
Though Magnolia is feeling a sense of renewed confidence heading into Wednesday's third game, Lee refused to say that he has Guiao already figured out.
"Di pa naman nasolve kasi di pa naman tapos yung series. Ayun, ready lang kami for the next game," he said. (JT)