Although not among the early favorites, the Elasto Painters hope to change that with Lee as they gun for a share of the lead against Powerade in the PBA Philippine Cup Sunday.
“I just went out there to try and play my game,” said Lee, the second overall rookie pick who exploded with game-highs of 21 points and eight assists in the Painters’ 94-93 escape over crowd-darling Barangay Ginebra in last Sunday’s opener.
Lee tries to come up with another big game in the 4:15 p.m. match at the Ynares Center in Antipolo, where both the Painters and the Tigers seek to join idle Petron on top at 2-0.
Barangay Ginebra aims to rebound from that heartbreaker against an Alaska squad that will start its quest in the post-Tim Cone era in the second game at 6:30 p.m.
New Alaska mentor Joel Banal hopes to inject his own brand after serving as Cone’s assistant for many years.
“In a lot of ways we’re the same, but in a lot of ways we’re different,” Banal said of Cone, who ended an over two-decade partnership with the Aces to call the shots for B-Meg. “Coach Tim likes structure in offense and defense, I’d like to inject a little ‘unstructuredness,’ and that’s a glaring difference.”
But there aren’t too many changes in the Aces roster with LA Tenorio still at the helm and former Smart Gilas mainstay Mac Baracael among the new recruits.
Not all teams, though, drew instant impact from their rookies like Lee as Powerade had to do without No. 1 pick JV Casio due to a knee injury.
Powerade wound up relying on their usual go-to guy Gary David, who unloaded 31 points to lead the Tigers to a 98-87 victory over a pesky Shopinas last Wednesday.
But it was a win that didn’t exactly please Powerade coach Bo Perasol, who noted the Tigers’ poor defensive game.
“We need more hard work and we need to put our mind into our goal, which is to defend as a team,” said Perasol. “I just know it takes a lot of commitment to do that since it’s not as popular as offense. It needs hard work. It’s not going to be comfortable.”
Former Smart Gilas standout Marcio Lassiter also proved to be a promising pick for the Tigers as the No. 4 Filipino-American draftee debuted with 10 points and seven rebounds. PBA News