Rookie Paul Lee waxed hot when it mattered most to lead Rain or Shine to a 114-97 win over Powerade at the start of their PBA Philippine Cup semifinals duel at the Astrodome Wednesday.

Lee scored 22 of his new career-high 25 points in the second half and had able support as the Elasto Painters shook off the Tigers’ sterling start and another big scoring night from Gary David to gain the head-start in the best-of-seven duel.

Coach Yeng Guiao said there’s still a long way to go before they can realize a first ever finals stint, but the win still brought on some other pluses.

"You always stack up the odds in your favour when you win the first game, but it’s far from over." said Guiao.

"Our objective also is to put pressure on Powerade by forcing them to make adjustments to our game."

Despite the lopsided loss, Powerade coach Bo Perasol said they are not going to simply buckle under and will make the necessary adjustments.

David finished with 30 points and Jayvee Casio wound up with 12 points and nine assists, but Marcio Lassiter had a career-low two points on 1-for-7 shooting and the Tigers as a whole gave up 71 second half points that equalled the season record.

Jeffrei Chan actually led Rain or Shine in scoring with 27 points and was chief among those who helped Lee bring the team back from as much as a 44-59 deficit.

Larry Rodriguez added a double-double of 16 points and 11 rebounds and the E-Painters used 12 steals to offset some atrocious free throw shooting that netted them only 19 charities out of 37 tries.

Starting for only the fifth time in his career, Lee was limited to a lone triple in the first half.

But he started finding his touch in the third quarter when he scored seven points and exploded for the first eight points of the E-Painters in the fourth to give them an 86-78 spread.

When Rodriguez and Chan joined in, Rain or Shine wasted no time in unleashing a 15-3 surge that gave it a 101-84 bulge going into the game’s last 4:31, and the lead even got stretched to 114-95 before Romel Adducul beat the final buzzer with a lay-in.

Even before then, Powerade was seemingly running on vapors, unable to show the energy it displayed so well in controlling the game’s first two quarters.

It was Chan’s turn to shine in the third period when he poured in 10 of his points, fuelling a fiery charge from a 44-59 deficit that was helped along by Ryan Arana, Ronjay Buenafe, Beau Belga and Lee.

Back-to-back steals by Buenafe and Belga spiked a 13-0 run by the E-Painters that put them within 57-59, before Chan fully took over in a similarly searing 15-5 surge that finally put them on top 77-75.

David already had 17 points at the half but it was the likes of Vanlandingham and Lingganay who wrought the most havoc for Powerade, enabling it to post as high as a 14-point lead before settling for a 54-43 halftime cushion.

Joshua Vanlandingham, along with Doug Kramer traded by Rain or Shine for JR Quinahan and future second round picks before the season, made four triples in the first half while Lingganay scattered eight points in the second period, highlighted by two three-point plays.

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