After a league-worst five-game stretch, the Sta. Lucia Lady Realtors finally returned to the win column in the 2019 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix after overwhelming the Foton Blue Energy Tornadoes, 13-25, 25-21, 25-23, 25-21, at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
Sta. Lucia won their first match of the tournament, then dropped a close match to United Volleyball Club. After that five-set heart-breaker, the Lady Realtors struggled mightily in their next four outings.
Against Foton, Sta. Lucia needed to buck a dazed first-set effort to win the next three frames in tight fashion. According to Sta. Lucia head coach Babes Castillo, their focus was on having a positive approach against the Tornadoes.
“I like it because they’re playing more relaxed. They’re enjoying themselves inside the court. I guess that’s one thing na nawala the past few games. I’m happy with it,” said Castillo.
“Yung mga good games namin noong first two games namin, we start really well and then that’s been our issue ever since; how do we finish. Now, I think this is a good experience for them – they get to know how to finish the game, they get to know how to play in tight situations. Hopefully, they will pick it up later on coming into the second round,” the former NU head coach added.
Sta. Lucia balanced offensive effort was led by imports Casey Schoenlein and Molly Lohman, who managed 13 and 12 points, respectively.
After a sluggish first set, the Lady Realtors got their acts together in the succeeding sets, where they engaged the Tornadoes in toe-to-toe battle. Sta. Lucia then fought back from a 19-21 deficit in the fourth set, as Vilanueva delivered a cross-court hit and a service ace for a 22-22 turnaround.
Schoenlein delivered back-to-back spikes for the match point, 24-21, before Selime Ilyasoglu committed a crucial attack error to hand the Lady Realtors the victory.
The Tornadoes, who have lost five games in a row, had Courtney Felinski tally 28 points while Selime Ilyasoglu added 15.
Both teams play their next matches at the FilOil Flying V Centre. Sta. Lucia (2-5) will take on the Cignal HD Sikers (4-2) next Tuesday. On the other hand, Foton (1-5) face the Generika-Ayala Lifesavers (0-5) on Thursday.
Sta. Lucia (3) – Schoenlein 13, Lohman 12, Lastimosa 9, Maraguinot 9, Villanueva 7, Raslan 4, Austero 3, Rivera 0, Catindig (L)
Foton (1) – Felinski 28, Ilyasoglu 15, Kasilag 9, Rosario 8, Ortiz 6, Perez 3, Casugod 1, Sandoval 1, Sy 1, Adorador 0, Aganon 0, Reyes (L)