Foton’s Jaja Santiago returned from a 10-day Japan training trip just in time to lift the Tornadoes past a feisty RC Cola-Army Lady Troopers in the 2016 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix, 25-20, 20-25, 29-27, 21-25, 15-7, at the PhilSports Arena.
Santiago tacked on a tournament-high 30 points for locals on 22 spikes, five blocks, and three aces after her training sojourn with National U.
Both squads traded erratic set wins as they both struggled to consistently pass. The fifth set, however, saw Army squander the momentum they built in the fourth set. After Foton took a 7-2 lead and forced Army to exhaust all their timeouts, the Tornadoes rolled to the win thanks to serves from Ariel Usher and offense from Lindsay Stalzer and Santiago.
Stalzer tallied 24 markers, including three blocks and two aces. The see-saw match had both teams finish with double-digit aces but the Tornadoes got the edge on block kills, 13-7.
“Right now, it’s not important if we win or lose. Even if we lose, we’re still going to a playoff. It’s important for us to keep improving as we get into the playoff,” explained Foton head coach Moro Branislav, who saw his team lose for the first time last Thursday.
Kiera Holst led Army with 24 points off 16 attacks, seven aces, and a block. Locals Jovelyn Gonzaga and Royse Tubino combined for 32 markers.
Foton (7-1) face Cignal (1-8) on Tuesday at General Trias, Cavite. Army (3-5) will take on F2 Logistics (6-3), also on Tuesday.
Foton (3) – Santiago 30, Stalzer 24, Manabat 9, Usher 8, Ortiz 6, Perez 3, Araneta 1, Dimaculangan 1, Laure 1, General (L)
RC Cola (2) – Holst 24, Gonzaga 17, Tubino 15, Ripley 8, Malaluan 7, Salak 4, Daquis 3, Bautista 0, Carolino 0, Sabas 0, Agno (L)