It was playoff James Yap. Averaging 7.3 points in the first three games of the PBA Philippine Cup semifinals, Yap drilled one big shot after another as Rain or Shine clawed back from 21 points down to make it a nailbiter late in the fourth.
Rain or Shine assistant coach Chris Gavina, who was calling the shots in lieu of the ejected Caloy Garcia, designed a play for the two-time MVP with 3.1 ticks remaining.
Yap, who has countless of game-winners under his belt, got the ball and dribbled for a couple of seconds at the top of key before missing on a three-point attempt that could have sent the game into overtime.
Magnolia went on to take Game 4, 94-91 and evened the best-of-seven series at two games apiece on Monday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Yap started off strong, scoring nine points in his first eight minutes inside the court, and finished with 24. While he made a couple of timely baskets down the stretch, Yap also botched 3-of-6 free throws before throwing an errant pass to Maverick Ahanmisi with 34.4 ticks remaining.
Jio Jalalon, a 71 percent free throw shooter, sealed the victory with a pair of freebies.
It was Ian Sangalang, though, who kept the Hotshots afloat as he finished with 19 points, 10 rebounds, and two assists.
He exploited his size advantage all-game long, scoring from all angles. But he had plenty of help from Paul Lee, Jalalon, Mark Barroca, Justin Melton, and Rome dela Rosa, who all finished in double figures.
"We didn't give up. We believed in each other that we will win today. We did our best," Sangalang said after the game.
Although the momentum shifted in Magnolia's favor after winning the last two games, Sangalang said the Hotshots won't let up and will double the effort in Game 5.
"The series is not yet over. We need to win that game. We can't relax," Sangalang said.
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
A magnitude 6.1 earthquake shook Araneta hours before the game while some players were warming up.
Rain or Shine coach Caloy Garcia was ejected from the game after getting his second technical foul with still 1:43 remaining in the third period.
Game 5 is on Wednesday, 7 p.m. at the Cuneta Astrodome.