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Paul Lee's historic 3 comes at 'perfect moment' for Magnolia in crucial battle vs ROS

Right at what he thought was a "perfect moment", Paul Lee secured his entry to the PBA's 1,000 Three-Pointers Club. PBA Images
By Ivan Saldajeno

TIAONG—Entering the fourth quarter, Paul Lee was quiet from the field, which did not favor Magnolia even if they led Rain Or Shine at that point during their PBA Philippine Cup game on Saturday night at the Tiaong Convention Center.

Thirty-six minutes in, Lee only had four points on 1-for-5 shooting and 0-of-3 from 22 feet out as he was also seeking a piece of PBA history.

However, being the ever-reliable fourth-quarter man that he is, Lee stepped up in the final canto, especially when the Elasto Painters already tied the game after trailing by as much as 15 points.

Highlighting his solid fourth quarter was a three-pointer with 7:44 left which was part of an 11-0 run that helped the Hotshots establish a double-digit advantage enough for them to hold on until the end.

After Beau Belga failed to receive Adrian Nocum's pass, Jed Mendoza picked up the ball and passed it to Lee, who would drain the triple.

It turned out to be historic as it was his 1,000th career long tom, becoming only the 10th player in PBA history to convert that many threes in the league and the fourth fastest to do so in only 515 games.

"At the end of the day, I just took the open shot. It helps din na pamatay sunog yung situation. Nagra-rally na yung Rain Or Shine, so it's just a perfect moment," Lee told Dugout Philippines after Magnolia's win.

Lee now joins an elite group of great scorers and three-point specialists who canned 1,000 threes or more in their career.

Already part of the 1,000 Triples group are Jimmy Alapag, the PBA's all-time three-point king, Allan Caidic, LA Tenorio, James Yap, Marcio Lassiter, Ronnie Magsanoc, Dondon Hontiveros, Arwind Santos, and Al Solis.

"I'm just happy. It's a milestone for me. It's pure hard work and a lot of work na ginawa ko just to reach that milestone," continued Lee, who finished with 11 points, seven in the fourth quarter, along with two rebounds and one assist in the Magnolia victory.

"Dadalhin ko siya habang buhay."

Paul Lee's legacy already secured says Yeng Guiao

Although Lee buried his 1,000th triple against his team, coach Yeng Guiao, Lee's first mentor in the PBA, is still happy that his former star achieved the said milestone.

"I'm happy for Paul making that milestone," Guiao told Dugout Philippines in a separate interview.

The Elasto Painters selected Lee with the second overall pick of the 2011 PBA Draft, and with him around, they won two championships.

However, just when everyone thought Lee would become ROS's franchise player, the Welcoat franchise suddenly traded him to Magnolia for Yap after five seasons.

Although they have been on separate ways PBA-wise since 2016, Guiao, who was one of Lee's godfathers during his wedding months after the shock trade, remains supportive of Lee's career.

"I've always been supportive of his career," Guiao further said.

The ever-expressive gaffer then believes that the 35-year-old combo guard's legacy is now sealed with his latest career milestone and that the three-time champ and 2023 3-Point Shootout winner has nothing to prove anymore with "some good years" left in his PBA journey.

"I don't think he has anything to prove. He's been a champion player, he's with the national team, he's had a really nice contract, he's with a good organization, and he's a leader in his team," Guiao continued.

"He just needs to be consistent and healthy."

For Lee, though, it's high time to inherit what he has accomplished in his career to the next man up mainly through mentorship, all the more that the Hotshots are starting to stack up on its youth by recently trading for Jerrick Balanza.

"Andoon na ako sa parang gina-guide ko na rin sina James Laput, Jed Mendoza, Joseph Eriobu, and all the young guys," Lee further said

"Kung ano ang makakatulong, kung ano yung kailangan ng team at iba kong kailangang gawin para makatulong sa team, gagawin ko siya."

Follow him on X: @IvanSaldajeno

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