With an intensity that’s been picking up as the season wears on, the Foton Tornadoes crashed into the F2 Logistics Cargo Movers and dealt them their first loss in the 2016 Philippine Superliga All-Filipino Conference, 19-25, 25-20, 25-23, 25-19, Sunday evening at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan City.
Foton middle blocker Jaja Santiago led the way with 19 points off 13 attacks and six blocks. Rondina and team captain Angeli Araneta finished with 11 markers.
“Hindi namin inisip na undefeated sila or what. Basta pareho kami ng target ng F2 and we had to show na we wanted it more,” said Foton coach Vilet Ponce-De Leon
F2 libero Dawn Macandali whirled around the back row, continually making defensive plays in the opening set. Foton sued for a comeback, trimming F2’s 21-16 lead down to three, 21-18. F2 team captain Cha Cruz boosted her team’s lead back to five after back-to-back hits. “Ms. Everything” then sealed the set with a block for the Cargo Movers’ 25th point.
Foton then shifted gears, forcing longer rallies with steady floor defense and serving. The Tornadoes built a 20-15 lead from an 11-all tie in the second set and never looked back. The third set saw Foton nearly blow an 18-12 advantage, letting the Cargo Movers slice the lead to one, 23-22. Foton escaped thanks to a Cherry Rondina smash then a net violation.
The Torndoes nearly had their fortunes changed when Rondina landed on Jaja Santiago after an attack and sprained her right ankle. But birthday girl EJ Laure had her UST teammate’s back, stepping up and delivering crucial points in a run that gave Foton a 19-12 lead. The run proved enough, as Foton managed to force sideouts when F2 tried to stay in the match.
“It took a lot of execution. We’re happy to see that we’re gelling more and more,” the Foton mentor added.
F2’s open hitters towed their offense, with Ara Galang going for 18 points, while Cha Cruz managed 17.
Foton have claimed the top spot in the knockout semifinals after sweeping the second round, while the Cargo Movers settle for the second slot. They await the winners of the RC Cola-Army-Petron clash as their next opponents.
Foton (3) – Santiago 19, Araneta 11, Rondina 11, Orendain 9, Laure 6, Ortiz 6, Dimaculangan 5, Cerveza 0, Henson 0, Macatuno 0, Acevedo (L), General (L)
F2 Logistics (1) – Galang 18, Cruz 17, Baron 7, Reyes 6, Maraño 4, Fajardo 2, Demecillo 1, Soyud 1, Cheng 0, Mercado 0, Macandili (L)