Paul Lee can’t help but be sad with how his first season with Star Hotshots will end.
The six-foot comb guard said it pains him to just watch at the bench as the backs-against-the-wall Hotshots try to keep their title hopes alive in Game 3 against the Meralco Bolts this Thursday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Lee has been shut down for the semis series due to a meniscal tear on his left knee. He arrived early at the Big Dome, chatted with some of his teammates Ian Sangalang and Rodney Brondial, while watching some of the Star players go through the routune shootaround some 2 hours before Game 3.
The 28-year-old “Angas ng Tondo” said it’s always a weird feeling to just sit at the bench and be a spectator.
“Siyempre malungkot. Hindi ako makakatulong sa team,” Lee told FOX Sports matter-of-factly.
“Siguro ichi-cheer ko na lang sila (Star teammates). Tiwala naman ako sa teammates ko at coaching staff na kaya namin manalo. Of course, kailangan magdasal ako manalo kami.”
Lee contributed 11 points, 6 rebounds and 1 assists in Star’s narrow 72-66 loss to Meralco in Binan, Laguna.
But the former PBA Rookie of the Year said he felt his left knee swelled after the game, forcing him to skip practice the next day.
Lee played just 3 minutes in Game 2 of the first period, before asking to be subbed out due to a sharp pain on his left knee. The Bolts ran roughshod against the Hotshots without Lee from there on the way to an easy 98-74 win in Sta. Rosa, Laguna and a commanding 2-0 bulge.
“After ng Game 1, di ko pa masabing namaga eh pero after ng game, dun ko lang napansin (ang maga). Siguro kasi dala pa rin ng adrenaline,” he said.
Lee is scheduled to undergo knee surgery under renowned orthopedic surgeron Dr. George “Raul” Canlas at the St. Lukes Medical Center in Bonifacio, Global City, Taguig on Friday.
He is expected to be out for 6 weeks, but vows to work hard and get back into shape in time for the 2018 PBA season.
“Siyempre kailangan ko i-work on talaga eh. Iwasan natin ma-injury at sa tulong na rin ng mga PT (physical therapist) namin. So kailangan ko muna magpagaling,” Lee said.
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