The Petron Blaze Spikers avoided another late-match meltdown, downing the Foton Tornadoes in five sets, 21-25, 25-20, 25-13, 12-25, 15-9, in Philippine Superliga Grand Prix at the San Juan Arena.
The Blaze Spikers saw a heroic performance from former league MVP, Dindin Santiago-Manabat, who dropped a game-high 28 points off 24 attacks and four blocks. San Beda standout, Frances Molina scored crucial points in the deciding set and finished with 11 markers.
After losing the first set, Petron nearly went down 0-2 as Foton led the second set, 16-14. Petron’s offense, however, came alive just in time, scoring six straight points and never looking back. With Brazilian import, Rupia Inck, riding the bench in the third set, Petron slotted in Fille Cayetano, who provided a much-needed spark, buoying her team to a huge 13-2 lead, which Foton could not cut down.
The defending champs, however, got a taste of their own medicine in the fourth set. Leaning on their imports, the Tornadoes tore through Petron, building an 18-9 lead and dragging the match to a fifth set. Petron’s Molina scored three consecutive points that gave Petron a 9-2 lead in the final set, sealing their second win of the season.
Petron, who usually have a height advantage over their foes, struggled to get around the long-armed Tornadoes. Still, the Blaze Spikers forged a 57-50 lead in attack, even if Foton garnered more blocks, 13-9.
“Kailangan pa talaga namin maging mas consistent. Pabago-bago ‘yung effort namin sa mga set eh. Siguro sa ensayo na lang namin dadaanin,” said Petron Head Coach George Pascua, who also admitted that the competition this year is a lot stiffer compared to last year’s title-winning campaign.
When asked about his import Incks’ performance, Pascua conceded he still was not satisfied with her performance. “Kulang pa e, mas malaking production pa ‘yung kailangan namin sa kanya para mas consistent ‘yung mga panalo namin. Mahirap din naman kasi binabago namin ‘yung position niya,” Pascua told Tiebreaker Times.
Foton import, Lindsay Stalzer led the Tornadoes with 27 markers off two blocks and an ace. Jaja Santiago, who debuted for Foton, put in 12, tying Foton’s other import, Kathleen Messing, in points production.
Petron (2-1) has RC Cola-Air Force (1-0) next at the Cuneta Astrodome on Tuesday, October 20. Foton (1-1) faces off with Cignal (2-0) on Thursday, October 22.
Petron (3) – Manabat 28, Molina 11, Inck 9, Maraño 7, Daquis 6, Adachi 5, Cayetano 5, Aganon 0, Masangkay 0, Morada 0, Zapanta 0, Reyes (L)
Foton (2) – Stalzer 27, Santiago 12, Messing 12, Tianco-Williams 6, Araneta 4, Orendain 3, Perez 3, Macatuno 0, General (L)
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