The Philippine Superliga All-Filipino Conference will have its dramatic conclusion when the Foton Tornadoes and F2 Logistics Cargo Movers clash in the the third and final match of the Finals on Wednesday, August 17, 5:00 pm, at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
F2 Logistics drew first blood with a thrilling five-set conquest in Game 1 (25-20, 25-14, 9-25, 20-25, 15-10) before Foton scored the equalizer with a four-set victory in Game 2 (18-25, 25-17, 25-22, 25-18) over the weekend.
After committing 39 errors in Game 1, the Tornadoes surrendered only 23 while improving their reception, allowing their setter Rhea Dimaculangan conduct the offense fluidly. The former University of Santo Tomas Tigress tossed 36 excellent sets, setting plays for Foton’s myriad attackers – Cherry Rondina, Jaja Santiago, Angeli Arelaneta, Maika Ortiz, and Patty Orendain.
The 6’6” middle hitter Santiago starred, converting 14 kills, three blocks, and two aces to finish the job with 19 points. Rondina, Ortiz and Orendain had 15, 13 and 10 hits, respectively.
“We were finally able to solve our problems in Game 1,” said Tornadoes coach Vilet Ponce-de Leon, who will also guide Foton’s All-Star contingent in the AVC Asian Women’s Club Championship from September 3 to 11 in Biñan City.
“But everything will be worthless if we don’t win Game 2. We have to be careful because F2 Logistics is a strong team who can bounce back mightily after a bad loss. We have to be at our best for one last time this conference.”
In the Grand Prix last year, Foton also defied great odds when they overcame top seed Philips Gold and reigning champion Petron to win the title. Ponce-de Leon said they will be banking on the same underdog mentality to finally win the All-Filipino trophy.
“We’ve already been here before. We’ve already done it. And we will be doing this again,” said Ponce-de Leon, adding that their championship series in the Grand Prix against Petron last year was also decided through a rubber match.
“We know that the series is not yet over. We just need to focus on Game 3 and play our best.”
Reiging UAAP champions De La Salle University Lady Spikers banner the F2 Logistics Cargo Movers. In their journey to the UAAP 78 title, the Lady Spikers had never lost back-to-back matches, always finding ways to adjust and recover through longtime head coach Ramil de Jesus.
The Cargo Movers also have yet to drop consecutive games this season. However, their two lone losses have come at the hands of the Tornadoes. They will need to find answers to Foton’s nearly-unstoppable offense.
While Foton had four players break double-digits in scoring, F2 had only two: Ara Galang, who scored 16 points, and Kim Dy, who added 11. Outside of sensational libero Dawn Macandili, the Cargo Movers’ service reception and floor defense have also looked vulnerable throughout the Finals.
“We have to address these issues in practice,” F2 assistant coach Benson Bocboc said.
“We played an average to good game, but Foton played great. They cut down their errors and did a good job hitting Ara (Galang) from the service line. We have to improve that if we want to win the title on Wednesday.”
Closing ceremonies and handing out of individual awards are set right after the match.