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Foton upends league-leading Philips Gold, nets third straight win

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The Foton Tornadoes continued to gather intensity, whipping the then league-leading Philips Gold Lady Slammers in four sets 25-14, 25-22, 18-25, 25-18 for their third consecutive win in the Philippine Super Liga Grand Prix at the FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan.

Coming from a nearly two-week break, Philips Gold’s poor service reception and multiple errors marred the first two sets of the match, burying then in a 0-2 hole. The Lady Slammers, however, slowly remedied their early game sluggishness and blasted the Foton in the third set through a spectacular display from Bojana Todorovic at the service line.

Smart attacking from import, Lindsay Stalzer and Jaja Santiago paced Foton in a tough fourth set duel. The Tornadoes then turned a slim 16-15 second technical timeout lead to a 20-16 advantage through offense and defense in the multiple long rallies that followed. Santiago, Kayla Williams and Katy Messing scored the clutch points for the Tornadoes down the stretch with Santiago serving an ace to cap the match.

NU standout, Jaja Santiago, topped all scorers with 18 points off 11 attacks, three blocks, and four aces. Stalzer and Messing each pitched in 17 markers. NU Lady Bulldog, Ivy Perez outperformed her Fil-Am opponent, Lindsay Dowd, setting 23 assists to Dowd’s 14. Perez’s setting allowed Foton to out-hit the Lady Slammers 51-37. The Tornadoes also notched a season-high 11 aces while Philips managed just seven.

With the win, Foton climbed to fourth in the standings with a 4-3 record. Their winning streak, according to head coach Vilet Ponce-De Leon, has raised the morale of the team. “The team has really been enjoying themselves on and off the court. I can see them really bonding and getting to know each other. Given that we got the whole team together late, we did expexlct to start slow but we also expected us to get ourselves going once we got more matches under our belts,” De Leon said.

Serbian-American import, Bojana Todorovic topped the Lady Slammers with 14 points while her fellow import, Alexis Olgard added 13 points. Philps’ offensive and defensive hustle turned futile as they gave up 28 errors that cut their momentum in key moments of the match. The Lady Slammers dropped from first to third in the standings with a 4-2 record behind Petron and Cignal.

Foton looks for its fourth straight win against the Meralco Power Spikers on Tuesday, November 10 at the San Juan Arena. Philips Gold also faces Meralco on Saturday, November 7 at Malolos, Bulacan.

The Scores

Foton (3) – Santiago 18, Messing 17, Stalzer 17, Araneta 8, Tianco-Williams 6, Perez 4, Macatuno 0, Ceballos 0, Delos Reyes 0, General (L), Acevedo (L)

Philips (1) – Todorovic 14, Olgard 13 Pablo 10, Dowd 5, Gumabao 4, Dadang 3, Nepumuceno 2, Sy 0, Crisostomo (L), Gohing (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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