Birthday-boy Paul Lee celebrates in style as Rain or Shine ends Purefoods' unbeaten run
Paul Lee, who turned 26 on Saturday, embellished an 18-point performance with three three-pointers in the second half against Purefoods Star. Dante Peralta

PAUL Lee marked his 26th birthday with a fiery second-half performance as Rain or Shine handed Purefoods Star its first loss in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup with a 78-71 win on Valentine’s Day in the Petron Saturday Special at the Dipolog Sports Center.

The six-foot combo guard banged in 18 points, including three three-pointers in the second half that enabled Rain or Shine to seize control of the game after trailing by as many as 14 points early on.

Heavyweight big man Beau Belga also stepped up for the Elasto Painters, overcoming foul trouble to contribute 10 points including a shot-clock beating three-pointer that kept Purefoods at bay, 78-69, entering the final stretch.

More importantly, the rugged center out of the Philippine Christian University neutralized Purefoods Star import Daniel Orton, who failed to dominate the paint the way he did during the first two quarters.

Orton, playing in just his second game since replacing stand-in import Marqus Blakely early this week, finished with 23 points, but only eight of those points came in the second half as Purefoods dropped to second spot after starting the Commissioner's Cup with four wins.

Rain or Shine import Rick Jackson added 12 points and 15 rebounds, though his fate remains uncertain as his performance is set to be evaluated by coach Yeng Guiao and his staff after the game.

Overall, Rain or Shine, now 3-2 (win-loss), hit 11 three-pointers while holding Purefoods to 23 points below its league-best points average.

The scores:

Rain or Shine 78 - Lee 18, Chan 12, Jackson 12, Belga 10, Norwood 7, Tiu 6, Arana 6, Uyloan 3, Tang 2, Quinahan 2, Almazan 0, Cruz 0.
Purefoods 71 - Orton 23, Barroca 11, Maliksi 9, Mallari 7, Devance 6, Melton 6, Pingris 4, Pennisi 3, Yap 1, Taha 1, Reavis 0.
Quarterscores: 18-20, 38-40, 60-53, 78-71

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