After surprisingly bowing out of quarters contention in the 2018 Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga Invitational Cup, the Foton Tornadoes earned their first win in their final Group A assignment, handling the University of the Philippines-United Auctioneers Inc. Lady Maroons in four sets, 25-10, 23-25, 25-22, 25-19, at the Imus City Sports Center.
Stepping in for head coach Rommel Abella, who missed his second match in a row due to a commitment with UST’s boy volleyball team, Foton assistant coach Edjet Mabbayad admitted that his team sorely needed a hit of confidence, regardless of their standing.
“Siyempre, masaya pa rin dahil hindi kami natapos na wala kaming panalo, malaking tulong rin sa kanila na naibalik ‘yung morale ng mga bata,” he said.
“Sobrang (hirap) kasi ‘yung confidence ng mga bata nakikita namin kung gaano kababa and, siyempre, kung ano na lang ang natitira (sa kumpyansa nila) pinagtiyatiyagaan na lang namin at trabahuhin namin para kahit papaano magkaroon kami ng confidence so ‘yun ang naging resulta ngayon,” the youthful coach added.
The Tornadoes lorded their supreme height, experience, and firepower over their much younger foes. Foton’s towering sisters Jaja Santiago and Dindin Santiago-Manabat dominated the match, with Santiago tallying 4 points and Manabat adding 14 markers. The Tornadoes also limited their errors to 21, as UP gave up 32.
Veteran middle blocker Marian Buitre topped the Lady Maroons with 16 points while Isa Molde managed 12 markers.
Foton move to the classification phase for 7th-10th place along with UP, UE-Cherrylume and another squad from Group B. UP (0-3) take on the F2 Logistics Cargo Movers (2-0) in their final group match on Thursday at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
Foton (3) – Santiago 24, Manabat 14, De Leon 9, Ortiz 8, Aganon 3, Yongco 3, Adorador 2, Rosario 2, Viray N. 1, Perez 0, Sy 0, Reyes (L), Viray J. (L)
UP-UAI (1) – Buitre 16, Molde 12, Gannaban 8, Magsarile 8, Goc 4, Gannaban 3, Lagman 2, Cailing 1, Estrañero 0, Layug 0, Rosier 0, Altomea (L), Dorog (L)