Defending champions Petron Blaze Spikers continued their splendid run in the 2019 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix, taking out the Foton Blue Energy Tornadoes, 25-20, 25-13, 25-21, at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
Petron needed much of the first set to get their bearings as Foton debuted their new import Milagros Collar and welcomes back veteran middle blocker Dindin Santiago-Manabat. Tied at 18, the Blaze Spikers zoomed ahead thanks to a barrage of hits imports Kath Bell and Stephanie Niemer. The pair powered a 7-2 run to close the frame.
The Blaze Spikers maintained big leads early in each of the next two sets, only facing resistance when a spell of serves from Foton’s Mina Aganon trimmed their seven points third set lead down to two, 22-20. The Tornadoes, however, stopped their own momentum with errors.
Petron head coach Shaq Delos Santos said that Foton’s addition of players did not affect their style of play that much.
“For us, mas naka-focus kami sa ginagawa namin sa court, not necessarily sa gagawin ng kalaban,” said Delos Santos.
“We know na malaking tulong sa kanila si Dindin and kilala din ng mga imports namin si Collar. I think medyo nag-aadjust pa rin ‘yung Foton, so medyo may advantage kami doon,” the national team head coach added.
Niemer finished with 17 points from 11 attacks, five aces, and a block while Bell managed 14 markers. Petron gave up just 13 errors to Foton’s 25.
Courtney Felinski and Collar each tallied 12 points for the Tornadoes. Santiago-Manabat had three markers in her first game back from a stint with the Toray Arrows in Japan’s V-Premiere League.
Petron (8-0) takes on Cignal HD (4-3) on Saturday at the Alonte Sports Arena. Foton (1-7) faces PLDT (4-4) on Thursday at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
Petron (3) – Niemer 17, Bell 14, Pontillas 6, Palma 5, Reyes 5, Dimaculangan 2, Pons 1, Cortez 0, Lazaro (L)
Foton (0) – Collar 12, Felinski 12, Aganon 10, Ortiz 3, Santiago-Manabat 3, Sy 1, Casugod 0, Perez 0, Sandoval 0, Reyes (L), Yongco (L)