Eya Laure and Shaya Adorador made sure that Foton remained in range of a semifinals berth in the 2019 PSL Invitationals, Thursday.
Behind the hard-hitting duo, the Blue Energy Tornadoes turned back the MJ Phillips-led Sta. Lucia Lady Realtors in four sets, 25-27, 25-15, 25-22, 25-11, at the Malolos Sports and Convention Center.
Laure top-billed with 19 points built on 16 attacks, a pair of service aces and a block. She also helped the Tornadoes gain crucial footing in the Final Four race with a 2-3 card in Pool D.
But while the UST Golden Tigress dealt the most damage against the Lady Realtors, it was the battle-tested Adorador that slammed the door shut on Sta. Lucia.
Phillips pummeled the consecutive set-clinching blows in the opening set that gave Sta. Lucia an early buffer. She also hammered down back-to-back hits in the fourth set to try and rally her team. Her exploits kept the Lady Realtors within striking distance at 5-9 against the Tornadoes, who then held a 2-1 set lead.
From that point onward, though, Sta. Lucia’s offense went adrift. Adorador then pounced on the opening, waxing hot from the left-wing and delivering blow after blow. She scored five times in a blistering 10-0 run that buoyed Foton at a 19-6 cushion.
Finally, Phillips stopped the bleeding for Sta. Lucia, nailing a kill to cease Foton’s onslaught, 6-19. Adorador refused to let the Lady Realtors pick up momentum, though, as she responded with a kill of her own.
Adorador finished with 15 points, all but a pair coming from attacks.
Foton led 20-6 — an advantage that proved insurmountable, as the Tornadoes strangled Sta. Lucia in a two-way knot with an identical 2-3 record.
“Siguro dito rin tataas ‘yung morale ng team kasi talagang sabi [ni coach Aaron Velez] namin…na must win-talaga ‘yung game namin ngayon,” said Foton libero Jen Reyes, who collected 23 excellent digs and 12 excellent receptions.
Mina Aganon and Marian Buitre also did their respective parts in the crucial victory, supplying 12 and 11 markers, respectively.
CJ Rosario contributed nine points, while Foton playmaker Gyzelle Sy tossed 20 excellent sets on top of 17 excellent digs.
“Sa amin kasi, sa training ine-enjoy lang namin yung isa’t isa, ‘yung jell ng team. Siyempre, kasi nga karamihan sa amin bago is bago talaga sa team, so ‘yun [sic],” added Laure, who — along with her older sister, EJ — missed Foton’s previous game due to personal commitments.
Meanwhile, Phillips had her 16 points, spiked by a troika of kill blocks, go down the drain.
Pam Lastimosa managed 13 markers laced with 14 excellent digs in a losing cause. On the other hand, Amanda Villanueva and Eli Soyud were limited to just seven points.
The Tornadoes seek to solidify their hold of a semifinals seat when they face the Generika Ayala Lifesavers in their next game. The Lady Realtors, meanwhile, try to propel their playoff bid as well when they square off against the F2 Logistics Cargo Movers. Both matches will be at the FilOil Flying V Centre on Sunday, October 13.