Magnolia Pambansang Manok overcame a fourth-quarter meltdown, watching James Yap misfire a potential game-tying three-point attempt at the buzzer to salvage a 94-91 win in Game Four of their PBA Philippine Cup best-of-seven semifinals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Monday night.
Jio Jalalon nailed two crucial free throws with 2.6 seconds to go to help Magnolia hold onto the lead and eventually pull through to tie the series at two games apiece.
The two teams break the deadlock in Game Five Wednesday over at the Cuneta Astrodome.
Ian Sangalang came through with a double-double game with 19 points and 10 rebounds, and was among the lead lights in their domination in the first three quarters.
But the Hotshots slowed down in the payoff period and needed good breaks at the finish to come through with a follow-up to their 85-74 win in Game Three.
James Yap led their fierce rally only to commit a critical turnover just when they had chopped down a 21-point deficit to three at 89-92.
"Importante hindi kami nag-give up, patuloy kaming naniwala sa game plan at sa isa't-isa," said Sangalang.
Regaining tremendous energy from a five-day breather, Magnolia brought back its A1 effort and utterly dominated through the first 36 minutes of the contest.
Mark Barroca and Sangalang played strong as starters while Paul Lee provided instant offense off the bench as the Hotshots took the half at 56-37.
The three had had double-digit outputs by halftime
Lee fired 12 points to lead the Magnolia reserves pummel their ROS counterparts, 26-10, in the first 24 minutes of action.
The whole Magnolia team was a lot more determined and dominant, pounding ROS, 28-20, in the opening frame and, 28-17, in the second.
But the E-Painters made a great effort to nearly steal the game.
They got to within a point at 91-92 on a twisting shot by Maverick Ahanmisi off Rafi Reavis with 4.0 ticks to go.
Sent to the stripe with time down to 3.1 seconds, Jalalon, however, showed tremendous poise, draining both charities to make it 94-91.
And the Hotshots pulled through as Yap missed a step-back three-pointer at the buzzer. (SB)
Magnolia 94 - Sangalang 19, Lee 15, Jalalon 12, Melton 11, Barroca 11, Reavis 10, Dela Rosa 10, Brondial 4, Ramos 2, Herndon 0, Simon 0.
Rain or Shine 91 - Yap 24, Mocon 14, Norwood 10, Nambatav 9, Borboran 9, Belga 7, Ahanmisi 7, Daquioag 5, Ponferada 4, Rosales 2, Torres 0.
Quarterscores: 28-20, 56-37, 80-64, 94-91.