Foton preserves perfect record, hands Petron its first loss
ABS-CBN Sports on Nov 08, 2016 10:14 PM
Defending champion Foton takes the solo lead after defeating erstwhile unbeaten Petron in a preview of a possible title clash.
Reigning champion Foton proved to be the steadier side down the stretch to weather Petron and escape with a heart-stopping 25-18, 23-25, 25-14, 19-25, 15-13 victory in the 2016 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix Tuesday night at The Arena in San Juan.
Petron American import Stephanie Niemer erupted for 38 points, but it hardly mattered as the Tornadoes unleashed a better defensive stance in the deciding set to run away with the win.
The victory preserved Foton’s immaculate 4-0 win-loss record while Petron fell to second with 4-1.
American reinforcement Lindsay Stalzer dropped 29 points, Jaja Santiago had 19 while American Ariel Usher had 15 for the Tornadoes.
Also winning in thrilling fashion is Cignal, which clobbered Generika, 22-25, 25-19, 21-25, 25-20, 15-14, in the first game.
With import Lynda Morales crashing with a left ankle sprain, the HD Spikers turned to Janine Marciano for firepower to complete the masterful conquest in two hours and five minutes.
It was the HD Spikers’ first victory in three games.
Meanwhile, F2 Logistics won its third straight victory by handing RC Cola-Philippine Army its third consecutive loss, 25-21, 25-18, 25-17, behind American import Hayley Spelman's 18 points.
The All-Filipino champion Cargo Movers improved to 3-2 record while Army dropped to 1-3 slate.
More than anything else, the victory gave the HD Spikers the confidence they badly need after starting the tournament with a pair of setbacks to powerhouses F2 Logistics and Petron.
Marciano, a prized spiker from San Beda College, finally found her rhythm as she delivered 14 kills and three aces for 17 points while import Laura Schaudt, Mylene Paat and Michelle Laborte fired nine points apiece for Cignal, who missed the services of Morales in the first set due to an injury.
“Losing Lynda is somehow a blessing in disguise,” said Cignal coach Sammy Acaylar. “At least the locals stopped relying on our imports and worked on their own. They really showed their fighting heart in this match.”
Acaylar said the victory, although it went the distance, should serve as a major morale-booster to his wards entering their blockbuster showdown against Foton on Thursday.
“I told the team to use this game to gain the confidence we need,” he said. “But we don’t have to be too over-confident. We just have to realize that we are also strong and we can win over other strong teams in the league.”
With Morales hitting the shower early, middle blockers Paat and Laborte stepped up big time, especially in the fourth set where their defensive tenacity made it hard for import Darlene Ramdin and Ria Meneses to operate.
Ramdin and Meneses finished with 14 points each for Generika, which opted to field young playmaker Angelica Legacion instead of proven veteran Rubie de Leon.
Although Legacion connected well with the spikers as she registered 31 excellent sets, her heroics were not enough as Generika committed 42 errors compared to the Cignal’s 37. The HD Spikers also did well from the service box, hitting eight aces.