Defending champions Foton Tornadoes needed to dig deep to stay undefeated in the 2017 Chooks-to-Go Philippine Superliga Grand Prix, outlasting the Cocolife Asset Managers, 20-25, 25-17, 28-26, 25-18, at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
Admittedly, Foton head coach Moro Branislav expected a tough challenge from Cocolife as they struggled in the first set.
“You see, Cocolife is a very tough team,” Branislav said. “They have good quality imports and domestic players. I think all the teams have great imports. This is probably the best batch of foreign players in the PSL.”
Foton eventually got their bearings, whipping up a storm midway through the second frame to tie the match at a set apiece. Foton nearly had a clear path to the third set, leading 24-22, before Cocolife sued for a comeback.
“My team probably did not play their best. We can still get better as well. We made small mistakes in that third set that we could have avoided,” added Branislav.
Foton, however, overpowered Cocolife, scoring three straight points from their imports to end the set. By the fourth frame, the Asset Managers had ran out of steam, allowing Foton to get a commanding 11-4 lead and quickly end the match.
Serbian Sara Klisura topped the Tornadoes with 24 points off 17 attacks, five blocks, and two aces. Skipper and National Team stalwart Jaja Santiago added 21 markers.
Shar Manu-Olevao led the Asset Managers with 16 points, while lefty American winger Taylor Milton managed 15 markers and 11 digs.
The Tornadoes (2-0) will next face the Generika-Ayala Lifesavers (1-2) on November 4 at the University of Saint La Salle – Bacolod Gym. Cocolife (0-2) face Cignal HD (1-1) on the same day.
Foton (3) – Klisura 22, Santiago 21, Perunicic 14, Ortiz 5, Rosario 5, De Leon 1, Perez 1, Yongco 1, Gutierrez 0, Vukomanovic (L)
Cocolife (1) – Manu-Olevao 16, Milton 15, Gumabao 11, Balse-Pabayo 6, Salak 5, Bunag 3, Bautista 1, Tejada 1, Gonzales 0, Lazaro (L)