Jaja Santiago leads the way once again for the Foton Tornadoes. (File photo)
Jaja Santiago displayed another monster performance as Foton handed Cignal its first loss 25-22, 16-25, 25-22, 25-14, in Pool C of the Philippine Superliga (PSL) All-Filipino Conference Saturday at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
The 6-foot-5 Santiago scattered 26 points coming from 18 kills, four kill blocks and four aces for the Tornadoes, who bagged their fourth win. EJ Laure added 16 markers.
“I come and see every match and analyze Cignal,” said Foton Serbian coach Moro Branislav. “Cignal is a very good team and today my players played well, this is a big win for Foton.”
National team member Jocelyn Gonzaga had 14 points while Royse Tubino added 11 for Cignal, which dropped to 3-1 slate.
Meanwhile, F2 Logistics kicked off its second round campaign on a sizzling note as it clobbered Cocolife, 25-16, 25-12, 25-16.
Majoy Baron, the reigning UAAP Most Valuable Player, spearheaded the assault to tow the Cargo Movers to their second victory in four starts.
With the win, the Cargo Movers have to nail their next two assignments against Cherrylume and Sta. Lucia to gain a good position in the crossover quarterfinals.
The survivors in the quarterfinals will figure in the semifinals with the victors advancing to the best-of-three title showdown starting July 11.
“Ang goal namin is mag-number one sa group namin para kahit papano yung las sa kabilang bracket ang makalaban namin,” said F2 Logistics coach Ramil de Jesus, adding that his wards played well despite facing a squad bannered by former La Salle star Michele Gumabao.
“Sana magtuloy-tuloy ‘yung ganitong galaw. Although marami pang errors pero maganda pa din ang pinakita namin.”
Baron delivered nine kills, a block and an ace for 11 points to topscore for the Cargo Movers, whose domination reflected in the attack department, 35-23.
Earlier, MJ Phillips waxed hot at the attack zone to lift Sta. Lucia Realty to an emphatic 25-20, 21-25, 25-17, 25-16 victory over Cherrylume.
A power-hitting Filipino-American, Phillips erupted with 23 attacks and a pair of aces for a total of 25 points for the Lady Realtors, who nailed their first win after three luckless starts.
Pam Lastimosa delivered 13 hits while Janine Navarro and Danika Gendrauli chipped in nine markers apiece for Sta. Lucia, which displayed red-hot offense and solid services with Phillips at the helm.
“We served really tough and passed really well,” said the 6-foot Phillips, who was born in Zambales but was raised in Carson, California before seeing action for Juniata College in the Division III of the US NCAA.
“We’re still a work in progress, but we really wanted to win.”
The Lady Realtors gained the upper hand on offense with 52 attacks compared to the Iron Lady Warriors’ 30. They also had more blocks (6-4) and more aces (12-11) to underscore their dominance on both ends despite giving their young and inexperienced foes their first set victory of the tourney in the second set.
But after that second set meltdown, where they fell to a maze error in the crucial stretch, the Lady Realtors sprung back to life in the third with Phillips punching holes at the defensive blanket of the Iron Lady Warriors, whose average age is just 19 years old.
Sta. Lucia was nursing a two-point lead, 18-16, before Cherrylume committed three service errors in the final stretch of the third set that set the tone for yet another heart-crushing setback.
Mary Ann Mendrez again served as a lonely soldier on offense with 16 kills for a team-high 18 points for the developing Cherrylume side, which suffered its fourth consecutive setback.
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