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Foton breaks slump, keeps RC Cola hurdling

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In a battle of teams going down alarming losing streaks, the Foton Tornadoes convincingly swept the weary RC Cola-Air Force Raiders 25-14, 25-13, 25-16, ending their second round of the Philippine Superliga Grand Prix with two wins in five matches at the FilOil Flying V Arena.

Having one of the best sets of local players to compliment their powerful imports, Foton squandered winnable games one after the other after winning their tournament opener. RC Cola’s imports, meanwhile, have carried the Raiders throughout their matches but the team’s overall lack of chemistry and conditioning severely hampered their attack.

Foton bucked their early-season struggles while RC Cola fell down the same pits that hampered them early in the season. Tornadoes setter, Ivy Perez delivered better tosses as her back line consistently gave good passes. RC Cola, on the other hand, miserably tried to control Foton’s attacks and serves, thus diminishing their momentum.

Perez’s setting led to a balanced Foton score sheet with high-leaping American import, Lindsay Stalzer tallying 15 points off 13 for 27 attacking, NU standout Jaja Santiago contributing 14 markers, and Fil-Jamaican, Kayla Tiangco-Williams  managing nine markers. Foton also limited their errors to a season-low 10, much less than Air Force’s 23.

Tornadoes’ assistant coach, Ian Fernandez, who filled on for traffic-burdened head coach Vilet Ponce-De Leon, felt relief after finally winning their second match. “Masaya kami sa panalo kasi as bad as our losses were, at least nakabawi kami. Alam naman ng team na marami kaming larong dapat na naipanalo kaso napakawalan namin noong dulo. Pero tapos na ‘yung first round. Ang focus ngayon is maipanalo ‘yung mga close game pagdating ng second round,” the former UST Men’s volleyball team starting setter said.

For the first time this season, both of RC’s imports failed to break double-digits as Puerto Rico National team standout Lyndo Morales only forked over nine points while Nebraskan Sara McClinton doled out seven points.

Foton’s 2-3 slate lands them in fourth place on the standings behind Cignal (5-0), Philips Gold (4-1), and Petron (3-2). RC finished the first round fifth place with a 1-4 record just ahead of the only team they beat, Meralco (0-5).

On Thursday at the San Juan Arena, the Tornadoes will face the Cignal HD Spikers on the 4:15 p.m. match while Air Force takes on Petron on the night cap at 6:15 p.m.

The Scores

Foton (3) – Stalzer 15, Santiago 14, Tiancgo-Williams 9, Messing 6, Perez 5, Araneta 3, Acevedo (L)

RC Cola (0) – Morales 9, Oriz 7, McClinton 7, Caballejo 5, Yongco 4, Semana 1, Dimaculangan 0, Balmaceda (L), Abanto (L)

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Miguel Luis Flores fell face first into sports writing in high sch9l and has never gotten up. He reluctantly stumbled into the volleyball beat when he started with Tiebreaker Times three years ago. Now, he has waded through everything volleyball - from its icky politics to the post-modern art that is Jia Morado's setting.

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