With teams jockeying for position heading into the playoffs, the Foton Tornadoes snapped their three-game losing streak with an impressive five-set triumph over the team that sent them sliding, the Philips Gold Lady Slammers 25-16, 25-20, 22-25, 19-25, 15-9 at the Alonte Sports Arena in Biñan, Laguna.
According to Foton Coach, Vilet De Leon the time away from the court was huge for her players to iron out their wrinkles. “Sobrang laki ng energy ng team heading into the matches. The past few games wala kaming ganoon, parang umaasa kami lagi na babawi na lang. In the time off nakapagusap sila. Kahit marami pa kaming kailangang ayusin, maganda na nakita ko ‘yung kagustuhan nila manalo noong fifth set.”
Foton got their game rolling right off the bat, erecting a 7-2 advantage built off steady floor defense. Philips Gold sliced the deficit down to one, 10-9, as Michele Gumabao and Myla Pablo got into their groove offensively. But as Michele and Myla shifted to the backrow, Philips Gold struggled to generate offense. A Foton 4-0 run led by Orendain, Lastimosa, and Tiamzon proppeled the tornadoes to a hefty 14-9 lead. UST’s Pam Lastimosa finished the set off marvelously for Foton, dropping eight points as Philips Gold could not deliver an offensive counter punch.
The second set unfolded much like the first set did for Philips Gold. Their overall defense was steady, but their offense went down the drain whenever Pablo and Gumabao rotated to the back row. A Shaya Adorador drop ball brought the Lady Slammers the closest they got for the second frame at 9-8. A string of long rallies ensued wherein Foton came out on top of everyone of them they won 10 of the next 13 points, cruising to another easy set win.
The Lady Slammers started the third set with a lineup face lift, opting to slot Leuseht Dawis as a utility hitter moving Michele Gumabao to Desiree Dadang’s Middle Blocker slot. The change worked as their offense flowed better through the next two sets. The Lady Slammers established an early four-point lead in the third frame, 11-7. Philips Gold’s momentum halted temporarily when they suddenly began to cough up errors leading to Foton to knot the set at 19. Benilde’s Rossan Fajardo and Gumabao came to Philips’ rescue as they split the last six Philips points, which brought the Lady Slammers to their first set win.
Myla Pablo put an offensive display in the fourth set as the Lady Bulldog had her hand in eight of Philips Gold’s first 10 points. Pablo wound up scoring 10 points in the set, but got timely assists from Gumabao and Fajardo to finish off Foton as the pair notched two late aces apiece.
The Tornadoes regained their dominating offensive touch in the deciding set. Foton got off to a 7-1 lead highlighted by back-to-back Patty Orendain kills. Philips Gold tried to come back, trimming the lead to as snall as three, 5-8. From there UP’s Nicole Tiamzon came alive and scored four points down the stretch, drilling the finals nails in Philips’ coffin.
Bacolod’s Patty Orendain dropped two points to lead all Tornadoes. Pam Lastimosa finished with 17 points while Nicole Tiamzon bounced back beautifully from a string of bad games with a 15 point outing.
The win evens Foton’s record at 4-4 while Philips drops to 4-5.
Philips Gold (2) – Pablo 22, Gumabao 20, Malaluan 8, Fajardo 8, Dawis 7, Tolenada 4, Dadang 4, Mea 2, Adorador 2, Gohing (L)
Foton (3) – Orendain 20, Lastimosa 17, Tiamzon 15, Araneta 11, Remulla 8, Estamapa 5, Macatuno 2, Panteleon (L), Acevedo (L)