Some people seem to retain their balance no matter how many times the foundation beneath them shakes. Paul Lee seems to be one such person. Even suffering a pre-season injury; even with he had an up and down games; and even haven’t able to enter the Final Four this season. Paul Lee is named as part of UAAP season 73rd Senior’s Basketball Tournament.
When Paul Lee enters the ground of Lualhati as a prized recruit by former UE Coach Dindo Pumaren from San Sebastian College, nobody really had noticed him, for the center of attention during that time was a guy named Bon-Bon Custodio. Being part of a developmental squad, Paul Lee is a silent witness when the UE Red Warriors became a pre-season powerhouse, dominating 3 major Pre-UAAP tournaments prior to the start of UAAP season 69.
In 2006, the University of the East was the host school of UAAP season 69. Living up to their billing as one of the top contender for the championship, the UE Red Warriors finish the elimination on 2nd place and going to the semi-finals with a twice-to-beat advantage. But, many have had never imagine that the smooth sailing to the finals would end up in disaster. The Red Warriors were beaten twice by an unexpected team that eventually finished a Cinderalla run to clinch their 18th championship.
For Paul Lee, it was his first time to witness a heartbreaking moment in the side of red and white. But for the Red Warriors, it was the dreaded “Final 4 Curse” that continues to haunt the UE’s basketball club for so many years.
In 2007, Paul Lee officially wears the red and white jersey. Paul Lee became a part of what might had been the strongest UE Red Warriors ever assembled by former Coach Dindo Pumaren. With the guys like Mark Borboran, Kelvin Gregorio, Hans Thiele, and Mark Pampulme commanding the frontline. Together with a formidable backcourt players like Raffy Reyes, Paul Zamar, James Martinez and Marcy Arellano.
Paul Lee’s role during that time was with the 2nd squad. The shock troopers as they say. The bench reliables together with Elmer Espiritu and Pari Llagas. Paul Lee is known as the 6th man, the main replacement for then King Warrior Marcy Arellano.
Everybody knew what happened in that spendid season. The Red Warriors swept every game in the elimination to set a rare peat in the league and eventually skip the dreaded “Final Four Curse” to wait for a worthy opponent in the Finals. But again, it ended in a beautiful disaster, when DLSU swept the Red Warriors to snatch the title the UE community are longing for so long. It was a gloomy chapter for our basketball club and for the community as well. If the felt so depress during that time, how about the players, how about Paul Lee in particular, his 1st season that was painstakingly went away for them.
In 2008, the community got the attention of the guy in jersey 20, when the UE Red Warriors went against a strong SBC squad in the Filoil pre-season tourney
it was the real look of Paul Lee’s way of basketball.When Paul Lee led the Red Warriors to win the Filoil championship, he completely dismantle the SBC throughout his quick pace and outside shootings.
During the UAAP tourney, the Red Warriors were only got as far to disappointing 4th place finish and in the late months of that year we have seen the transition of a well systemize squad to a freewheeling system especially Paul Lee when he was under the PBL team Cobra Energy Drink. Under Coach Lawrence Chongson, Paul Lee became a polished gem, winning a MVP award and a Rookie award at the same time.
Eventually with a license to play his own way inside the court, make Paul Lee a marked man every the UE Red Warriors has a game. And, last year, Paul Lee together with a band of braves were able to end the dreaded “Final Four Curse.” For the UE faithfuls it’s already a major achievement to a community of dreaming and hoping that the title drought would end anything soon.
Also last year, Paul Lee won the Most Improved Player Award. And, this year he’ll be part of an elite five for their extraordinary role in their respective teams. As long Paul Lee is in the team, he will always be the heart and soul of the team, even with a disappointing season, we’re hoping that next season, Paul Lee would be back for our beloved basketball club and Lualhati.