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Extra work behind the scenes bodes well for Marvin Lee

To hone his skill and perfect his shot, Marvin Lee launches 500 shots a day.

"Before we start our regular practice, he's already put up 500 shots. Every day," UST Growling Tigers coach Aldin Ayo shared.

Lee's shooting practice may sound like an exaggeration, but there was surely no exaggeration in his 30-point performance in UST's 79-68 victory over the UE Red Warriors on Sunday. All his field goals were from beyond the arc, going 8-for-18, and added six points from the line. His career game was highlighted by a second quarter barrage of five triples.

"No, I don't really count. Every day, [I shoot] ten, ten, ten, till I get tired," Lee, flashing his childish smile, humbly said in Filipino. "Ten, ten, ten, I just keep on going."

Maybe Lee was being too modest, but it sure feels like he's hoisting up quite a number of shots in practice. His sizzling performance from rainbow country didn't look like a fluke at all.

Plus, Lee's performance was historic in more ways than one. The last time a UST player scored 30 points was three years ago when Ed Daquioag notched 34. And the last Tiger to knock down eight triples was a decade ago when Jeric Fortuna achieved the feat.

"I'm thankful that my game was able to come out," the veteran shotmaker said. "I just followed the system that when you're open, shoot."

Lee came into Sunday's matchup versus UE averaging just 11.0 points and shooting just 27 percent from beyond the arc. His 30-point outburst came in the perfect time with backcourt buddy Renzo Subido was sidelined due to a foot injury. According to Ayo, Subido will undergo an MRI on Monday to determine the extent of the injury.

"We were all affected (by the injury) because he's one of our scorers," Lee mentioned. "Coach just told us that he hopes that someone steps up. All of us were thinking that."

The fourth-year guard has always been known to be a gunner in his collegiate career but wins were hard to come by the past two seasons. The Tigers only won a total of four games from 2016-2018 and Lee could only wallow in disappointment. But this season came with promise and hope with the arrival of coach Aldin Ayo. The UAAP and NCAA champion tactician carried with him a ton of experience, discipline, and a new culture. It's no coincidence that Lee was one of the players who has benefited the most to Ayo's arrival.

"I like how coach always tells me that I shouldn't get bored with what I do," shared Lee. "I just enjoy what I've been doing. I just followed what I did every day."

"Marvin has improved a lot, if there's something that's changed with him, it's his approach to the game," chimed in Ayo, who has faced Lee the past two years as the former coach of La Salle.

As Ayo said, Lee practices his shot rigorously. His breakout game was a product of good old fashioned hard work and maximizing the opportunity given.

"As I've said, coaches should not take credit for the achievements of the players," Ayo pointed out. "On our part, we just guide them. Not only Marvin, even CJ (Cansino), actually all the players. Whatever they have right now, they're responsible for it, not the coaches. The Growling Tigers are currently fourth in the standings with a 5-5 record and have put themselves in a very good position to enter the Final Four conversation. Nothing is set in stone yet but if Lee continues to practice 500 shots a day and light up the scoreboard in games, then the wins can keep on coming.

"Coach Aldin lets us trust and follow the system," Lee said. "He lets us play our game as long as it's within the system."