Dindin Manabat announced her return to the league as she powered the Foton Tornadoes to a 25-19, 22-25, 25-16, 25-22 victory over the Generika-Ayala Lifesavers in the opening salvo of the 2018 Chooks-to-Go/PSL Grand Prix, Saturday afternoon at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
After being sidelined with a torn anterior cruciate ligament last year, the power-hitting Manabat made her presence felt, towing the Tornadoes to a furious run in the third and fourth sets to emerge victorious.
“Mind-setting lang naman kasi ‘yung kailangan kay Dindin,” said debuting Foton head coach Rommel Abella. “Tinanong ko siya, tinanong ko yung mga PT kung ano ang lagay ng injury niya. sabi naman nila 100 percent healed na. Good thing, nag-step up siya ngayon.”
Manabat fired eight kills and a game-high five aces to finish with 14 points. American import Brooke Kanda delivered 17 attacks and two blocks to emerge with 21 points for the Tornadoes, who are looking for revenge after losing the Grand Prix crown to the F2 Logistics Cargo Movers last year.
Canadian reinforcement Elizabeth Wendel, for her part, tallied 11 points in her debut.
Foton lost the battle at the attack zone, 42-44, but they ruled the blocking department, 8-2, and had more aces, 13-6, to underscore their dominance in the match that lasted for one hour and 36 minutes.
“If I’ll put a number on it, between 60 to 70 percent pa lang. Hoepfully ma-improve namin yung mga mistakes na nagawa namin dito,” Abella added.
But the day obviously belonged to Manabat.
Looking fit and deadly after 10 months of rehabilitation and therapy, Manabat was impressive on both ends, especially in the third set where the Tornadoes erected a 12-point advantage, 20-8, to clinch the set victory and build enough momentum for the deciding set.
The Lifesavers hung around and tried to extend the game to a fifth set, 21-23, but Manabat scored on a sharp kill to claim the match point, 24-21, before Kranda connected a strong hit to seal the victory.
Darlene Ramdin of Trinidad and Tobago finished with 19 points, while Symone Hayden of United States added seven markers for the Lifesavers, who are off to a slow start under the tutelage of new head coach Sherwin Meneses.
Foton 3 – Kranda 21, Manabat 14, Wendel 11, Ortiz 6, Sy 4, Aganon 2, Perez 2, Rosario 2, Casugud 1, Yongco 0, Vukomanovic (L)
Generika-Ayala 1 – Ramdin 19, Araneta 8, Hayden 7, Meneses 5, Orendain 4, Hingpit 2, Cerveza 2, Ceballos 2, Lopez 1, Llagoso 1, Espinosa 0, Pineda (L), Gutierrez (L)