MANILA, Philippines -- Magnolia's Paul Lee delivered a dagger to the heart of his former coach when he drilled the game-tying three-pointer against the NLEX Road Warriors with 32 seconds left in their game -- while also getting fouled in the process.
Lee went on to complete the four-point play that completed the Hotshots' 103-100 come-from-behind win over NLEX. After leading by as much as 22 points, the Road Warriors fell prey to Magnolia's full court press, committing 17 turnovers in the second half that fueled the Hotshots' comeback.
It was the team's biggest comeback in 15 years.
"It was a designed play by Coach Chito (Victolero)," Lee said on Thursday morning. "Ang kailangan lang naman is to try for a shot na makakatira talaga ako."
"Aksidente na lang siguro na na-foul din ako ni (Anthony) Semerad," he added. "Sobrang eager niya na makahabol."
Lee also credited Ian Sangalang for setting the pick that sprung him free for the look, as Semerad had to scramble over the screen to defend him and wound up hitting Lee's arm on the shot.
It was only Lee's sixth made field goal of the game, giving him 18 points for the contest. For NLEX coach Yeng Guiao -- who coached Lee back when they were both at Rain or Shine -- he could live with the shot made by his former player given how they had defended him all game.
"I think we did a good job on him for the most part. Na-score siya pero ang mga nai-score niya, mahirap. Hindi 'yung mga madadaling baskets," said Guiao.
Even the three-pointer was well-contested, but Lee has always been known for his shot-making ability.
"'Yung tinira niyang huli, napakahirap, pero pumasok. I'll take that," Guiao said. "What I don't want to have is to give away easy points. He took a hard shot and he made it. And he got fouled, so wala na tayong magagawa doon. You just have to accept those things."
Having seen what Lee is capable of through the years, Guiao was not even surprised that his former player made the clutch basket, despite struggling with his shooting for most of the game.
Lee and Guiao won two titles together at Rain or Shine, the 2012 PBA Governors' Cup and the 2016 PBA Commissioner's Cup. Lee was the Finals MVP of the 2016 series, when the Elasto Painters won in six games over Alaska.
"I guess that's what he does eh. Hindi naman personal 'yun," Guiao said of Lee's heroics in the clutch. "You kinda expect that already from him."
Magnolia improved to 1-1 with Wednesday's night win, while NLEX dropped to 0-2 in the bubble.