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Girl on Fire: Pablo burns Foton as Philips Gold avoids late game meltdown



With third place on the line, the Philips Gold Lady Slammers and the Foton Tornadoes set the Imus Sports Complex ablaze. The Lady Slammers eventually escaped the comeback-hungry Tornadoes in five sets, 25-20, 25-20, 15-25, 17-25, 15-11 in their final match for the PSL All-Filipino Cup.

Fresh off a National Team stint in the AVC U23 tournament, Myla Pablo delivered a masterful offensive performance for the Lady Slammers, finishing with 31 points off 84 attack attempts, seven of her points came in the final set of the match. Philips Gold team captain, Michele Gumabao, paced her team with 20 points with four blocks and two blocks.

Philips Gold took the first two sets with relative ease as Pablo and Gumabao had their way with Foton’s defense. Tides turned in the following two sets as the Philips Gold stagnated when Foton honed their defense in on the Lady Slammers’ attackers; which was then countered with a balanced attack off a heavy diet of outside bits from Patty Orendain, Nicole Tiamzon, and Pam Lastimosa. Foton middle blocker, Angeli Araneta, came up huge in the fourth set as well as she scored six of her 15 points in the frame to send the match into a deciding fifth set.

The Tornadoes held a steady two-point lead in the fifth frame, 11-9, when Philps Gold caught fire. Powered by steady serving from Gumabao, uncanny setting from seldom-used setter Sarah Espelita, and an offensive jolt from Myla Pablo, Philips scored all the remaining points to seal third place. Foton’s balanced attack resulted in four of their players breaking double digits. Neta’s 15 points was matched by UST’s Lastimosa while Patty Orendain contributed 14 markers followed by Nicole Tiamzon’s 13 point outing. Foton recieved a huge boost from Philips’ 35 errors but the Lady Slammers revitalized effort to keep the ball alive in the final set keyed their bronze campaign.

Playing as the Mane ‘N Tail Lady Stallions, Philips Gold finished in last place in last season’s Grand Prix. Their third place honors marks their best finish in the PSL in franchise history as their off-season acquisitions paid off.

Foton won only a single five-match this season (their second round match with Philips Gold), going a total of 1-3 in those situations.

The Scores
Philips Gold (3) – Pablo 31, Gumabao 20, Fajardo 7, Dadang 6, Malaluan 4, Tolenada 4, Dawis 2, Espelita 2, Mea 0, Gohing (L), Crisostomo (L)

Foton (2) – Lastimosa 15, Araneta 15, Orendain 14, Tiamzon 13, Estampa 6, Remulla 3, Macatuno 0, Mendez 0, Acevedo (L), Pantaleon (L)

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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