The Magnolia Hotshots are now just two victories away from advancing to the PBA Philippine Cup finals after a 92-78 drubbing of Meralco in Game 2 of their best-of-7 semis series on Wednesday.
The win put the Hotshots with a 2-0 lead over the Bolts, who are reeling from the loss of Raymond Almazan to injury.
Paul Lee admitted he likes Magnolia's chances of reaching the finals, but he stressed that the semifinals is far from over.
"We all know naman ang Meralco kung anong kayang nilang gawin. It's up to us kung gusto namin talagang makapasok sa finals," said Lee who was instrumental in Magnolia's 15-0 run that overhauled their 12-point deficit in Game 2.
"Ayaw namin i-claim muna eh. We take it one game at a time."
Coach Chito Victolero said they prepared thoroughly for Game 2 since they expected the Bolts to come back hard after Meralco lost 88-79 in their first game.
This was evident with the Bolts' taking the lead at the onset of Game 2.
"Pinaghandaan namin lahat lahat ng pwedeng options nila especially on defense kasi alam naman natin na this is a defensive battle. Also sa execution on offense tumutok kami diyan," said Victolero.
"Halos lahat ng players ng Meralco nagco-contribute, so walang kaming pwedeng piliin, from Chris Newsome down to John Pinto. Ang mga players na yan nagcocontribute."
Victolero admitted that the early exit of Meralco's Almazan and Cliff Hodge made their work easier. But he pointed out there will be other players who were likely to step up.
"Hindi kami doon naka-focus kasi alam namin kahit sino sa Meralco pwedeng magstep-up. Hindi kami pwedeng magrelax kasi we learned from our experience before."