It took some shuffling and clutch plays but the Petron Blaze Spikers ended the undefeated run of rivals Foton Tornadoes in the Philippine Superliga All-Filipino Conference. The Blaze Spikers came away with a thrilling five-set win, 25-20, 18-25, 21-25, 25-19, 15-11, Saturday evening at the Batangas Convention Center.
Trading heavy blows throughout, both teams took turns grabbing momentum. With the win in sights, Foton suffered a major slip in the fourth set. Trailing 14-16, Petron surged ahead with a 6-0 run and forced a fifth set.
The decider began with another trade of points and ended with the Blaze Spikers getting clutch points from University of Santo Tomas products Cherry Rondina and Aiza Maizo-Pontillas. Petron broke away from a 9-all tie and took a 14-10 advantage to seal the win.
“Siyempre, sobrang happy and thankful kami. Para sa akin happy ako kasi natest ang team namin at na-overcome namin. Natalo [kami last game against Cignal] at nakarecover kami. Thank you kay Lord na binigay sa amin ang panalo,” said Petron head coach Shaq Delos Santos.
“Sobrang laking bagay sa amin kasi ang laking bagay na walang talo ang tinalo namin. Knowing them, alam namin kung paano sila dumiskarte. Ang laki ng opportunity na ito sa amin kasi makakapasok kami sa quarterfinals na high morale kami,” the former FEU mentor added.
Pontillas finished with 17 points, while FEU’s Toni Basas came in midway through the match and added nine.
The Blaze Spikers locked up a 2-1 record in Group C and could end up as high as the second seed in the quarterfinals.
Jaja Santiago towed Foton with 20 points, while Ej Laure managed 17. The Tornadoes had their five-game winning streak snapped.
Petron (3) – Pontillas 17, Basas 9, Pons 7, Reyes 7, Rondina 5, Meneses 4, Molina 4, Palma 4, Dimaculangan 4, Tunay 2, Aganon 2, Hingpit 0, Pineda (L), Duremdes (L).
Foton (2) – Santiago 20, Laure 17, Ortiz 13, Guino-o 9, Doria 6, Negrito 3, Guliman 1, Berte 1, De Leon 0, Rosario 0, Perez 0, Reyes (L).