PAUL Lee is looking to slay the ghost of Magnolia's past.
As the Hotshots get another crack at winning the PBA Philippine Cup title, Lee eyes redemption for the franchise that came close of putting an end to San Miguel's all-Filipino dynasty two years ago.
Still fresh on the mind of the 32-year-old Lee was the Hotshots' heartbreaking 72-71 loss to the Beermen in their winner-take-all game for the crown.
San Miguel battled back from a 17-point third quarter deficit and didn't take control of the pulsating match until the final 57 seconds when Alex Cabagnot hit a fadeaway jumper for the marginal score.
Lee admitted the painful loss haunts the Hotshots until today.
"Until now, it's still painful. Yung chance namin na yun ang pinaka-close against San Miguel," said the wily guard from Tondo.
"Sobrang buong-buo yung San Miguel team na yun. One basket away lang kami to win the all-Filipino championship."
But this is a different ballgame and a different motley crew for the Hotshots, who faces an equally formidable TnT Tropang Giga side in the best-of-seven finals that begin Wednesday at the Don Honorio Ventura State University gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.
The Magnolia cast of today varies from the one that loss in the title series two years ago, but its core remains the same.
"It's a different group, but yung core namin intact pa rin," said Lee. "And with the help of Calvin (Abueva), siguro mas mataas yung chance namin na makuha yung championship."
"Will just take advantage of that opportunity, para hindi na namin ma-feel yung ganoong kasakit ulit." (RG)