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In-form Foton dumps lowly Mane ‘n Tail in four sets

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The Foton Tornadoes started slowly but eventually gained steam to emerge victorious against the stiff Mane ‘n Tail Lady Stallions, 24-26, 25-19, 25-21, 25-15, in the Philippine Super Liga All-Filipino Conference first round encounter earlier at the Alonte Sports Arena in Biñan City, Laguna.

Pam Lastimosa scored a team-high 16 points for Foton who also had starters Patty Orendain and Angeli Araneta feature in double digits with 15 and 13 respectively. Meanwhile, Honey Royse Tubino recorded a game-high 22 points, but it was in vain as her efforts were not enough to stop the Tornadoes from ripping them apart late in the game.

Foton dropped the first set but actually began the contest on top. Orendain scored three of the Tornadoes’ first eight points to put her team ahead 8-4 at the first technical timeout of the game. An exchange of runs took place afterwards, even extending Foton’s lead to five at 12-7. Facing a deficit, Mane ‘n Tail’s trio of Tubino, Danika Gendrauli and Lilet Mabbayad worked towards levelling the score and even grabbing the lead heading into the second technical timeout, 16-14. In response, Foton coach sent Kimberly Mendez and Dzi Gervacio into the game. The latter helped the Tornadoes build momentum with two emphatic spikes to gain back the advantage at 20-18. Not to be denied, the Lady Stallions knotted the score with Tubino leading the way. It was back and forth with both teams not letting their foes take the upper hand, although Foton may have seized the first set had Lastimosa not sent her spike wide. At 24-all, Tubino and Gendrauli came up big to finally bag the opening set for Mane ‘n Tail.

Eager to make up for their first set loss, the Tornadoes started the second set strongly. This time, it was Lastimosa who poured in four of her team’s eight points to put them ahead at 8-5. Unlike the previous set, this was one-sided as Foton’s defense only allowed three points heading into the next technical timeout, where they led by eight. Foton reduced the gap to as low as four courtesy of Tubino and team captain Jill Gustillo. Nonetheless, it was not enough as Foton blew by them with six of the set’s last 10 points going their way to close out the second set comfortably at 25-19.

There was hardly space between both teams early in the third set with the score close, heading into its first technical timeout, 8-6 in favor of Foton. After Gervacio’s long spike allowed Mane ‘n Tail to level the score at eight apiece, the Tornadoes renewed their ascendancy with Royce Estampa and Nicole Tiamzon stepping up and delivering the goods. Yet, the duo of Tubino and Gendrauli enabled Mane ‘n Tail to stay within touching distance and even take the lead courtesy of Christine Basco. Foton then took charge with Araneta scoring three points and guide her team to a 20-16 advantage. Although Mane ‘n Tail’s Samantha Dawson teamed up with Tubino to keep the Lady Stallions alive in the third set, Tiamzon and Ivy Remulla nailed points to overturn a 1-0 set deficit into a 2-1 lead moving onto the fourth frame.

With momentum on their side, Foton prevented their foes from mounting a comeback in the fourth set. Eight of the first 10 points in the set went to them with their solid net defense too firm for Mane ‘n Tail to break down. Collegiate volleyball stars Lastimosa, Tiamzon, and Araneta wrought havoc midway into the set, and as a result towed Foton into a seemingly unassailable 16-8 lead. Needing only nine points to win the match, the Tornadoes had to absorb a mini run spearheaded by Lady Stallion Gendrauli before Mendez’s ace finally shut the doors down en route to a comfortable four-set victory.

This is the effect ng matagal na pahinga, actually active rest kaya lang iba rin talaga ‘yung may training kayo together. Masyadong mahaba yung five days. Buti na lang towards the end na pick up na yung pace,” said Foton coach Vilet Ponce De Leon of the team’s unsteady start. Her team, a mixture of active collegiate players and veteran players familiar of multiple situations, have been enjoying their time together on the court. Hence, they now sport a 3-1 record in the league while their beaten foes Mane ‘n Tail Lady Stallions fell to their third loss in four games.

The Scores:

Foton (3) – Lastimosa 16, Orendain 15, Araneta 13, Tiamzon 8, Gervacio 6, Remulla 4, Macatuno 2, Estampa 2, Pantaleon (L)

Mane ‘n Tail (1) – Tubino 22, Gendrauli 15, Gustillo 7, Praca 6, Mabbayad 3, Dawson 3, Basco 1, Cotel (L)

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