Finals MVP Paul Lee: ‘Coach Yeng didn’t give up on me, I had to repay him’

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(Photo: Sherwin Vardeleon)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) —Paul Lee was on fire for Rain or Shine in their decisive Game 6 victory over the Alaska Aces in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner’s Cup Finals on Wednesday (May 18).

The balloons rained down and the Elasto Painters finally donned shirts with the words ‘CHAMPIONS’ printed on the chest, while fans waved banners reading ‘#BridesmaidsNoMore’

“Masaya, sobrang saya. Wala na akong mahihiling pa,"  said Lee after the game.

[Translation: I am so happy. There is nothing else I could wish for.]

Lee had the hot hand in the opening period, and helped his side build an unassailable lead early in the game.

“Kailangan ipakita ko sa mga teammates ko kung gaano ko gusto na manalo ngayon,” he said. “Siguro nakita nila, gustong gusto manalo ni Paul, so kailangan lahat tayo magsacrifice.”

[Translation: I needed to show my teammates how much I wanted to win now. Maybe they saw that ‘Paul really wants to win, so we all need to sacrifice’]

But despite his sterling performance, Lee admitted that he wasn’t in tip-top shape because of the persistent problem of fluid in his knee.

According to Lee’s own estimates, he says he is only "70 to 75 percent healthy" and that his ailments have even limited his participation in practice.

“Pag practice namin, hindi ako nagprapractice,” admitted Lee. “Nanonood talaga ako kung anong mga adjustment. Para mapreserve ni coach yung minutes ko, yung tuhod ko. ”

[Translation: When we practice, I don’t participate. I just watch for the adjustments, so that coach can preserve my minutes and my knees.]

The scoring guard reserved special thanks for Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao, who Lee says trusted him despite his limited showing in training.

“Yan yung malaking pasalamat ko kay coach Yeng (Guiao). Kahit na hindi ako nakajoin sa team practice namin, nadyan yung trust niya,” said Lee. “Hindi siya sumusuko sa akin, so kailangan suklian ko lang.”

[Translation: I am very thankful to coach Yeng. Even if I couldn’t join the team in our practices, his trust is still there. He didn’t give up on me, so I had to repay him.]

In Game 6 of the finals against a resurgent Alaska Aces, Paul Lee scored 20 markers while shooting four-out-of-five from beyond the arc.

And as the trophy was finally raised Lee did not just end the night with just a championship ring, but a Finals MVP nod as well.