The Wales scrum-half was one of the stars four years ago and started all three Test matches as the British & Lions slipped to a slender 2-1 series defeat.
Phillips, who can hardly believe how quick the trip to Australia has come around, still has fond memories of his previous tour but the defeat is still painful to take.
And the fierce competitor insists clinching a first series success since 1997 is the be all and end all.
"It's gone quick. Four years has flown," said Phillips.
"It was obviously the highlight of my career playing for the Lions, but the fact that we lost the Test series to the Springboks was devastating.
"We played some great stuff and we came so close.
"We came back in the first Test and left it a bit too late. Then getting over the second Test defeat in Pretoria was pretty tough.
"It was nice to end the tour with a win in the final Test and hopefully we can carry that sort of winning mentality on to this tour.
"It's all about going down there now and being part of a winning Lions team."
On a personal level the Bayonne star, who has enjoyed previous stints in Wales with the Scarlets, Cardiff Blues and
Ospreys, reckons he has matured since his last involvement with the Lions
"Since I've been there (Bayonne), I've won a Grand Slam with Wales and a championship this year," said Phillips.
"I've gone over there on my own and chilled out a bit and found out a few things about myself.
"Maybe the rugby has been difficult at times, but I think it's been a great move for me to get away from Wales and to experience something totally new.
"The rugby is totally different. It's something completely new over there, but a great experience.
"I think it's chilled me out a bit. I think I have become stronger as a person and believed in myself a lot more and backed myself a lot more.
"Just to go over there and learn different things and try and fit in has been a great experience and I've loved it really."
Phillips is now in the midst of his second week of training with the Lions, who are currently based at Carton House in County Kildare, following last week's stay in Wales.
And the Bayonne star insists it is imperative that the squad bond together quickly and continue to do so when they reach their full compliment following this weekend's domestic finals.
"It's really important to bond," said the 30-year-old.
"Everybody knows each other on the field, but it's about getting to know these guys off the field.
"I am sure we will have a few golf days this week or a couple of beers just to relax and have a laugh.
"When you know someone well, you want to perform for him and you don't want to let him down. That's what rugby is all about really.
"I am sure we will have a bit of banter this week and get to know each other even more. That's just an ongoing process."