All-Star weekends are usually all fun and games, but that doesn’t mean there can’t be winners. The festivities largely serve as a welcome respite for players and teams who have gone through the grind of a season, with the quick change of scenery an added bonus.

Paul Lee did get some rest in Passi, Iloilo and didn’t come home empty-handed either.

Lee participated in the 3-point shootout, barely making the cut for with a score of 22. That was all the Angas ng Tondo needed to show how lethal he could be.

It somewhat had the feel of another 3-point shootout champion, as Lee channeled his inner Larry Bird by keeping his warmup shirt on and scoring an insurmountable 28 points. Marcio Lassiter and Juami Tiongson, themselves great shooters, could only muster 21 and 18 points, respectively.

Lee’s hot shooting carried over to the marquee event, where the nine-time PBA All-Star knocked down seven 4-pointers en route to 32 points and All-Star Game MVP honors. The 34-year old obviously took advantage of the added wrinkle to this year’s All-Star Game, setting the tone for Team Japeth’s 140-136 win over Team Scottie.

It’s fair to say that the Magnolia Chicken Timplado Hotshot, who is currently averaging 17.5 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.6 assists, through 11 games in the 2023 Honda PBA Governors’ Cup, had quite the past two days and the Hotshots themselves couldn’t be happier for the weekend Lee had.


At 7-4, Magnolia has qualified for the Governors’ Cup postseason, but whether or not they have the twice-to-beat advantage remains up in the air. An 0-3 start put the Hotshots on the ropes early in the conference, but six wins in their last seven games have brought them back into title contention mode.

Part of that came thanks to the arrival of Antonio Hester, whose 27.9 points, 15.8 rebounds, 4.5 assists, and 1.4 steals breathed some new life into Magnolia. But Lee deserves as much credit for being a steady presence in the 2023 PBA Governors’ Cup and for much of PBA Season 47. He may have not led the Hotshots in scoring in any of the conferences thus far this season, but sometimes being there is all that matters given the 34-year old’s injury history and how it has impacted Magnolia in the past.  

Injuries have hindered Lee’s performance in the past, with his numbers reflecting the long road to recovery following each setback. With his improving shooting percentages from behind the 3-point line and free throw line, the hope is that the three-time PBA champion is on the mend. After playing in only six regular season games in the 2022 PBA Philippine Cup, Lee hasn’t missed a contest in the Commissioner’s and Governors’ Cup. That in itself is a welcome development, but for a team like the Hotshots, the standard is defined by the Magnolia’s postseason and its outcome when all is said and done.

All things considered, though, Lee and the Hotshots have their work cut out for them. While they are in wait-and-see mode, Magnolia isn’t the hottest team in the league as the TNT Tropang Giga (six consecutive victories) and the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings (five straight wins) are on longer win streaks. Moreover, the prospect of a potential four-way tie at the end of the conference could lead to extra games (which could raise the risk of further injury regardless of the outcome) or tougher matchups that come largely due to… tough luck.

The PBA recently held its first All-Star Weekend since the COVID-19 pandemic and Paul Lee came out firing on all cylinders. This wasn’t lost on the Magnolia Chicken Timplados Hotshots, who now hope that this would translate to good fortune in the 2023 Honda PBA Governors’ Cup. After all, the postseason is a stage filled with bright lights and we all know Lee isn’t one to shy away from the big stage, health be willing.