Staring at a 0-2 set deficit, the Foton Tornadoes Blue Energy found their groove just in time to stun the Sta. Lucia Lady Realtors in five sets, 18-25, 21-25, 25-18, 25-15, 15-4, in the 2019 PSL All Filipino Conference, Tuesday evening at the Bacoor Strike Gym.
With momentum on its side, Foton leaned on Jaja Santiago and Marian Buitre in the fifth set and mounted an 8-2 cushion. From there on, errors spelled disaster for the Lady Realtors.
Though Roselle Baliton stopped the bleeding at 3-11, Gyzelle Sy connected on a 1-2 play that brought the Tornadoes gap back to nine – a lead that Foton would not relinquish the rest of the way.
Santiago delivered 22 points built on 14 kills, six blocks, and two service aces.
Buitre poured in her best performance so far, tallying 15 points off eight attacks, five aces and two blocks. She came off the bench and provided a much-needed offensive push after Foton head coach Aaron Velez made a reconfiguration in his rotation in the third set.
“Yung motivation kanina is how to be accountable. Nagkaroon kami ng struggles sa pasa at some point sa laro kailangan lang maging accountable sa gagawin kasi laro na namin to there’s no tomorrow so noong third set, nag-gamble kami ng diskarte. Nag-step up naman,” Velez said.
“Yung una talaga naghahanap kami ng tamang kombinasyon malaking pasasalamat na nag-step up din si Marian,” he added.
Manabat, meanwhile, supplied 13 markers for the Tornadoes, who tightened their grip of the solo fourth place with a 5-3 win-loss record.
On the other hand, the Lady Realtors have dropped to a 1-7 card – a win ahead of the still-winless Marinerang Pilipina.
Pam Lastimosa notched 13 points and 15 excellent digs for Sta. Lucia in a losing cause. Rachel Austero chipped 11 points, while Amanda Villanueva added 10 markers on top of 12 excellent receptions.
MJ Phillips was not fielded in the game, while libero Alex Bollier is expected to be out for at least a week due to patellar tendonitis on her left knee.
Foton tries to continue its winning ways as it faces PLDT while Sta. Lucia looks to arrest its skid versus F2 Logistics. Both games will be played on Thursday at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
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