PAUL Lee touched off a furious third-quarter surge that set the tone for Rain or Shine's 107-79 manhandling of the Meralco Bolts in a fight-marred PBA Philippine Cup road game on Saturday at the University of Southeastern Philippines gym in Davao.
The six-foot combo guard, who finished with a double-double of 20 points and 10 assists, opened the third period by nailing back-to-back three-pointers and a three-point play, touching off a 14-5 exchange that set off the rout, 65-43.
The Elasto Painters, who lost coach Yeng Guiao early in the second period on successive technicals, drained five three-pointers in the third quarter alone, tearing the game apart, 85-54.
However, game officials failed to control the physicality in the second half, leading to Rain or Shine big man Raymund Almazan and John Ferriols nearly coming to blows.
The 6-7 Almazan actually tried to get back at Ferriols, who, just less than a minute into the fourth quarter, knocked down the reed-thin Rain or Shine slotman with an elbow.
Cooler heads immediately intervened to keep the two sides from going after each other.
Ferriols was eventually assessed with a flagrant foul penalty 1, while Almazan got a technical.
The highly physical match also saw Gary David leave the game late in the third quarter with a bloodied nose while Beau Belga lost one tooth during a rebound battle in the first half.
The Elasto Painters moved half a game behind second placer Barangay Ginebra Kings (5-1) at 5-2, their chances for one of two automatic slots in the semifinals enhanced after winning their fourth straight match.
On the other hand, the Bolts absorbed their first back-to-back losses of the season as they fell into a tie for sixth to seventh spots with idle GlobalPort at 3-3.