Fresh off the semis heartbreak that halted their two-year reign in the Philippine Superliga All-Filipino Conference, the Petron Blaze Spikers made sure to end their campaign on a positive note, Saturday evening.
Sisi Rondina and the Blaze Spikers salvaged bronze, dispatching the Foton Tornadoes, 28-26, 25-27, 25-21, 24-26, 15-12, in the battle for third of the 2019 PSL All-Filipino Conference at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
“Siyempre sobrang happy and thankful kay Lord kasi siyempre… Ano pa rin, kasi may medal pa rin. Gold yun eh, matagal lang naluma,” joked Petron head coach Shaq Delos Santos, who had an allergy attack midway through the first set.
In the pressure-packed fourth frame, the Tornadoes cradled a 23-20 lead and seemed to have the set in hand to force a decider. However, Sisi Rondina hammered down a kill, then Foton committed consecutive attack errors.
Though Dindin Santiago-Manabat broke the 23-all knot, Shaya Adorador overcooked an attack that paved the way for a twice-to-win situation. Refusing to back down, Santiago-Manabat carried the cudgels and nailed two off-the-block hits in succession, setting up a rubber set.
Locked in another tight affair in the final chapter, the Tornadoes had a crucial two-point breather at 11-9. But Rondina went berserk, unloading five of the last six points for Petron to secure third place.
The 5-foot-6 product of UST erupted for 33 points, built on 30 attacks and two blocks.
Ces Molina supplied 15 markers off 11 attacks and two rejections, on top of 17 excellent digs. Rem Palma and Mika Reyes chipped 11 points apiece. The former also had three aces, while the latter had a pair from the service line.
Rhea Dimaculangan fanned out 22 excellent sets to go along with three markers. Denden Lazaro manned the floor with 17 excellent digs and six excellent receptions.
On the other hand, the Santiago siblings had a stellar offensive outing that went for naught.
Santiago-Manabat topped Foton with 26 points, all but one coming from attacks. Her sister Jaja poured in 22 markers, including 18 attacks and three aces.
Marian Buitre and Eya Laure supplemented 11 markers each. The former also had five of her team’s blocks to her name. Shaya Adorador added 10 points.
Jen Reyes patrolled the floor with 23 excellent digs and 14 excellent receptions. Gyzelle Sy tossed 16 excellent sets laced with 20 excellent digs.