After sweeping their encounters in the preliminary round, the Foton Tornadoes Blue Energy continued their mastery over the PLDT Home Fibr Power Hitters, 16-25, 25-17, 25-17, 25-12, in the Quarterfinals of the 2019 PSL All-Filipino Conference, Thursday night.
Foton advance to the next round, where they will either face F2 Logistics or Sta. Lucia. Moreover, this is their first semifinals appearance since the 2018 PSL Grand Prix.
“I just wanna appreciate and be grateful doon sa mga bata. Sila talaga ang nagpakahirap kung paano namin daanan yung two-round (preliminaries) and now quarterfinals. The ladies really stepped up,” said Foton head coach Aaron Velez.
Reeling from a lethargic opening salvo, the Tornadoes woke from their slumber and displayed lethal form in the next two sets to inch closer to the victory.
Foton then smelled blood in the fourth frame, pouncing on the Power Hitters’ sloppy receptions and sprinting to a seven-point advantage in the second technical timeout. From there, errors spelled doom for PLDT as the Tornadoes cruised to their trip to the next stage.
Jaja Santiago spearheaded Foton on offense, tallying 20 points — built on 14 attacks, and five blocks.
Her older sister, Dindin Santiago-Manabat supplied 15 markers, including three blocks and three aces. Marian Buitre added 12 points, all but three coming from attacks.
“Nandiyan na talaga yung leadership ni Dindin, pati ni Jaja. Pero ang pinaka-nagustuhan ko kanina [ay na] they’re very patient throughout the match, and at the same time the other players got involved,” Velez added.
Gyzelle Sy generated the offense for Foton with 21 excellent sets. Meanwhile, Jen Reyes had 19 excellent digs and seven excellent receptions to backstop her team on defense.
On the other hand, the Power Hitters committed a total of 30 errors in the match, which negated Gretchel Soltones’ game-high outing. She had 22 points laced with 18 excellent receptions that went down the drain.
Team captain Jerrili Malabanan had 13 points for her PLDT, who shut down their campaign with a 6-9 slate.
Shola Alvarez chipped 10 markers spiked by four service aces. Jasmine Nabor strutted her playmaking and defensive wares with 21 excellent sets on top of 10 excellent digs.
The Tornadoes will now prepare for their semifinal match on Tuesday at the Muntinlupa Sports Center.