Paul Lee is already in peak shape for the season while other players rest; Kurt Lojera relocates to Siomai King in the PSL after leaving Phoenix

Jun 8, 2023

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The PBA On Tour is allegedly designed to give bench players, 3×3 standouts, and rookie aspirants valuable playing time, an opportunity to impress coaches and scouts, and a chance to secure future roster slots.

A star player for Magnolia is using the preseason to demonstrate that he still merits a spot on the squad.

Paul Lee seems to be playing like it’s the regular season while opposing players are taking a break, averaging double digits in scoring during the Hotshots’ undefeated start.

What is he hiding? The Lee-thal Weapon has been in the PBA long enough to understand that preparations should begin well in advance of the actual season.

Paul Lee on preparations for the offseason

The second-overall choice in the 2011 PBA Draft, who is starting his 12th season in the league, claims to be healthy now, despite having just had fluids from his knee evacuated to get ready for the Hotshots’ preseason schedule.

Three-time champion Lee is still driven to win the next one, and his summer preparation is paying off. The 6-foot gunner scored 12 points against NLEX, a team-high 21 points against Converge, and 11 against Blackwater.

Lee, though, acknowledges that he occasionally indulges in comfort food, but he manages while he is on vacation with his wife Rubie and daughter Tokyo.

For the former University of the East standout, being a professional for more than ten years makes it run like clockwork.

Is Lee, who represented Gilas Pilipinas in the 2014 Fiba World Cup, healthy enough to compete in the domestic competition this year?

Check out Serrano turning down Phoenix’s two-year deal and instead to play in the MPBL.

Meanwhile, it turns out that Phoenix lost more players than Encho Serrano on the current PBA On Tour.

Kurt Lojera, a sophomore, has also left the Fuel Masters’ nest and joined Siomai King in the Pilipinas Super League (PSL).

Ironically, Lojera and Serrano are teammates with the Kings, who are now competing in the PSL D2 Super Cup.

The La Salle-trained guard has played three games in the PSL so far, averaging 12.3 points, 1.7 rebounds, and 2.7 assists as Siomai King maintained its perfect record at 3-0 to lead Group A of the 14-team field.

Lojera continued to play for Phoenix in the PBA On Tour before joining the PSL, scoring 10 points in a 106-101 victory over San Miguel on May 24.

When his prior contract with Fuel Masters expired at the end of May, he had the option of rejecting the new one that the company’s management had given.

According to Paolo Bugia, there should not be any problems because the player’s contract expired in May.

Despite being given a contract offer by the Fuel Masters, Lojera’s PBA rights remain Phoenix’s property.

The 23-year-old Serrano, whose rights are still held by the Fuel Masters despite turning down the two-year deal the organization initially offered, is in a similar situation.

The previous La Salle unshakable had already settled to play for the Pampanga Lanterns in the MPBL, but since Serrano was still unknown by the Pampanga governor Dennis ‘Delta’ Pineda’s team, Siomai King asked the governor’s permission to let the explosive guard play for the team temporarily.

With an average of 18.7 points per game, 5.3 rebounds, and 3.3 assists, Serrano leads Siomai King in scoring.

He was selected by Phoenix in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft (no. 19 overall), and Lojera was acquired in a deal with Converge for Aljun Melecio and Kris Porter, along with Ben Adamos.

Blackwater selected Lojera with the ninth overall pick in the first round of the Season 47 draft, but quickly traded him to Converge in exchange for big man Yousef Taha.

Prior to being traded to Phoenix when Aldin Ayo took over as coach, he competed for the FiberXers in the Philippine Cup, which opened the season.

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