During the first two games of the Philippine Superliga All-Filipino Finals, the Foton Tornadoes had tallied more spikes, aces, and blocks than their foes, the F2 Logistics Cargo Movers.
Foton, however, always had more errors.
Game Three was no different. Foton had out-spiked F2, 51-41, but dropped more errors, 37-20, which ultimately decided the match and gave the title to the Cargo Movers.
After the smoke had cleared, Foton head coach Vilet Ponce-de Leon was left to rue her team’s costly miscues.
“Hindi F2 ‘yung kalaban naming kanina, it was ourselves.”
“Kapag ganoon na sunod-sunod ang erros, talagang ganoon na mangyayari,” said de Leon who steered Foton to the PSL Grand Prix title last December.
“They know naman na we beat ourselves when we talked and that’s good moving forward for the development of the team.”
Foton had won the Grand Prix title, riding seasoned American import Lindsay Stalzer. To beef up their line-up for the upcoming AFC cup tournament, Foton added college players Ej Laure and Cherry Rondina, and National Team mainstays Rhea Dimaculangan and Maika Ortiz to go with their young core of Jaja Santiago, Bia General, and Angeli Araneta.
Their youth and inexperience in pressure-packed matches was a huge factor in their Game Three meltdown especially when they faced F2 Logistics, a squad bannered by UAAP champions the De La Salle University Lady Spikers.
“I can still say na bata ‘yung team. Compared sa Grand Pric na more than half of the team ay seasoned players. Ngayon, most ng naglalaro para sa amin ay college player.
“They are still young. For them, magandang experience ito. Next season or maybe next conference pa lang, sana lumabas na agad ‘yung tulong nito,” de Leon remarked
“Regardless of the loss, I still consider them as winners. Ang haba ng pinagdaanan namin to get to this point.
“Elimination round pa lang, we were struggling to reach the top 4. And then, nakaabot pa kami ng Finals. Ang sabi naming, hanggang dulo, pinapanalo pa rin kami ng tadhana. We were prepared physically, but mentally we weren’t there,” she continued.
But the Tornadoes can ill afford to lose intensity especially with the AVC Women’s Club Championships just around the corner. Foton Pilipinas will represent the Philippines among Asia’s finest club teams.
“Tomorrow is going to be a new day for us. We’ll still be wearing blue, but with the addition of red and white. We’ll be representing the Philippines and that’s always something exciting to look forward to.”