Teetering on the brink of defeat, Foton delivered one of its best games of the season as it frustrated F2 Logistics, 18-25, 25-17, 25-22, 25-18, on Saturday in Game 2 of their 2016 Philippine Superliga (PSL) All-Filipino Conference women’s volleyball tournament best-of-three finals duel at the FilOil Flying V Center.
The Tornadoes banked on their strong receptions and solid blocking to pull off the heart-stopping conquest and force a winner-take-all in this topnotch tourney bankrolled by KLab Cyscorpions, Mueller, Asics and Mikasa with TV5 as official broadcast partner.
Sudden-death Game 3 is set this Wednesday at the same venue.
Jaja Santiago and Cherry Rondina carried the offensive rhythm while Maika Ortiz and Patty Orendain dished some flashes of brilliance for Foton, which will again figure in a kill-or-be killed encounter after winning the Grand Prix crown over Petron in a similar three-game series last year.
The 6-foot-5 Santiago registered an impressive all-around performance of 14 kills, three blocks and two aces for a total of 19 points while Rondina mocked their foes’ defense with 14 attacks to finish with a total of 15 markers.
Ortiz and Orendain, for their part, combined for 23 hits for the Tornadoes, who gained massive momentum in the second set to shove the Cargo Movers out of their comfort zone.
More than anything else, it was their vastly improved reception and solid blocking that did wonders for the hungry Tornadoes.
“We’ve been working hard on that first ball during our previous training,” said Foton coach Vilet Ponce-de Leon, who is set to guide the Tornadoes in the AVC Asian Women’s Club Championship from Sept. 3 to 11 at the Alonte Sports Center in Binan City.
“We know that we can’t set up our attack if we can’t receive properly. The players worked hard to improve it. Fortunately, it paid off and we’re now going to Game 3.”
“We didn’t play volleyball in Game 1. We had too many errors,” she said. “That’s why I told the team to just simply execute the game plan in Game 2 and we will not go wrong.
Each player was committed to improve their performance coming into this game.”
The Tornadoes, however, came into the game groping for form.
With the Cargo Movers taking the first set, the Tornadoes waxed hot and took an 8-1 lead entering the first technical timeout of the first set. The lead further swelled to 10, 19-9, with Santiago and Rondina taking turns in punching holes in the F2 Logistics’ defense from the middle and open positions.
F2 Logistics tried to fight back in the crucial stretch of the third set as it managed to knot the count at 22. But Rhea Dimaculangan connected an ace before Angeli Araneta scored on a beautiful running attack to put Foton at set point, giving them enough momentum to destroy the Cargo Movers in the deciding set.
Ara Galang shone as she notched 11 kills and five blocks for 16 points while Kim Dy had 11 hits for F2 Logistics, which is tipped to make a major comeback.
“We can’t count F2 Logistics out,” Ponce-de Leon said. “They have this ability to bounce back every time they lose. So we have to go back to the drawing board and execute all the important things we did in this game to win Game 3.”
(FilOil Flying V Center)
5 pm – F2 Logistics vs Foton