by Waylon Galvez

Despite falling short of winning the PBA Philippine Cup, Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok guard Paul Lee said that this should not be considered as a failure. In fact, he believes they gained something – experience.

“For me natuto kami from last year na nakalaban namin sila (For me we learned a lot from the time we played them in the Finals last year),” said Lee following a 72-71 loss to now five-time all-Filipino conference champion San Miguel Beer in Game 7 Wednesday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

PBA Images 10 1 640x460 - PBA: Loss will make us stronger says Lee

Paul Lee of the Magnolia Hotshots drives against Chris Ross and Arwind Santos of San Miguel Beer (PBA Images)

“Maybe not this time, siguro darating din yung time namin (Maybe not this time, but our time will come).”

“But for sure natuto kami sa series na ‘to, yung na-gain namin na experience… malaking bagay samin yun kahit natalo kami (But for sure we learned a lot in this series, we gained the experience… it’s big for us even though we lost the game),” added Lee.

The team entered the best-of-seven finals series against the reigning four-time Philippine Cup champion San Miguel Beer as ‘underdogs’ – a tag Lee and the rest of the team embraced.

The team even took a 3-2 lead following an 88-86 win in Game 5, and they were ahead during most part of the winner-take-all Game 7. They had several chances to take the lead in the final stretch.

However, missed attempts by Ian Sanggalang and Jio Jalalon proved crucial for Magnolia.

The 6-foot-1 Lee said that with the Commissioner’s Cup scheduled to start this Sunday, this finals loss should serve as motivation for the Hotshots to get back and improve.

“Yung mga ganitong klase ng experience magandang baon sa amin to for next conference (This kind of experience is good, which we can bring next conference),” said Lee.

“Feeling ko hindi ito yung experience ma-down kami, mas titibay pa kami as a team… we know that we re not that strong, but we have to stay together (I think this experience shouldn’t bring us down, I think this will make us stronger as a team… we know that we re not that strong, but we have to stay together),” added Lee.

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