Magnolia Pambansang Manok roared on, making it three in a row over Rain or Shine to move on the cusp of a second straight PBA Philippine Cup Finals.
But the Hotshots found many other players stepping up, including Mark Barroca who was all over the floor early on, piling up 14 points, seven rebounds, three assists and two steals.
The Hotshots outsmarted and outplayed the Elasto Painters in the clutch Wednesday night and carved out an 82-74 triumph for the crucial 3-2 upper hand in their best-of-seven semifinal showdown.
Having erased a 0-2 deficit in the series, the Hotshots now have a shot at advancing to the title playoff in Game Six Friday at the Ynares Sports Center in Antipolo.
A deciding Game Seven, if necessary, is Sunday.
It was a well-fought battle the Hotshots won on a 9-3 closing binge by Ian Sangalang, Rafi Reavis and Jio Jalalon.
And the victory proved a sweet advanced birthday present for this gutsy guard who's turning a year older Thursday.
"Magandang birthday gift, but our mission isn't yet done. We have to close out and win this series," said Barroca.
"It wasn't an easy game. It's really a grinding game because we play the same game. Kaya talagang pahirapan," Barroca also said.
The Hotshots actually built a 13-point spread in the third period but the E-Painters quickly got back into the game, and the two teams engaged in a tight battle all the way to the finish.
Jalalon personally put ROS away in the final minute on a perfect dish to Rafi Reavis underneath the basket plus his two charities that made it 82-74.
The Cagayan de Oro playmaker also finished with 14 markers that went with four boards and three assists.
The E-Painters yielded the game as they threw bricks in the last two minutes of the game.
Gabe Norwood led the losing team with 15 markers.
The versatile Fil-Am player delivered the bulk of his output in the third, leading their fightback from 36-49 down.
But the E-Painters couldn't complete a come-from-behind win, and the Hotshots seized command going to Game Six. (SB)
MAGNOLIA 82 - Barroca 14, Jalalon 14, Reavis 9, Brondial 9, Sangalang 8, Herndon 8, Dela Rosa 7, Ramos 7, Melton 6, Lee 0.
RAIN OR SHINE 74 - Norwood 15, Yap 12, Borboran 11, Daquioag 9, Torres 8, Nambatac 6, Belga 5, Rosales 3, Mocon 3, Ahanmisi 2, Ponferada 0.
Quarters: 16-10, 40-34, 58-57, 82-74.