Foton eyes quarterfinals top spot

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Foton’s Jaja Santiago engages Generika’s Patty Orendain in an aerial battle.
CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

After posting an incredible come-from-behind conquest, Foton marches back to warzone to formally secure the top spot in the quarterfinals of the Philippine Superliga (PSL) All-Filipino Conference Saturday at the Batangas City Coliseum in Batangas City.

The Tornadoes clash with heavyweight Petron at 7 pm while F2 Logistics and Sta. Lucia collide in the 5 pm opening salvo of this crucial double-header battle bankrolled by Rebisco, Belo and Gold’s Gym with TV5 as official broadcast partner.

Still unbeaten in five outings, Foton is just a win away from sweeping the preliminaries while Cignal is not far behind with a 4-1 win-loss card after dominating Petron, 11-25, 25-23, 29-27, 26-24, in a thrilling battle that featured six of the 14 members of the national women’s volleyball team late Thursday.

Veterans Honey Royse Tubino, Jovelyn Gonzaga and Rachel Anne Daquis were impressive as they took turns in piercing the defensive blanket set by frontliners Ria Meneses, Mika Reyes and Remy Palma while setter Chie Saet did a fantastic job setting up the plays.

Tubino had 16 points while Gonzaga and Daquis submitted 14 markers apiece for the HD Spikers, who dug deep into their well of experience to thwart the uprising of the star-studded Blaze Spikers in the crucial stretch of their battle that was also backed by Senoh, Mikasa, Mueller, Asics and Grand Sport.

But still, all eyes will be on Foton.

After launching a massive revamp in the off-season, the Tornadoes pulled off a stunner as they posted three straight victories to emerge on top of Pool B in the first round of preliminaries.

They continued in the second round as they downed Cignal before booking a heart-stopping 19-25, 20-25, 25-18, 25-15, 15-7 victory over Generika-Ayala also late Thursday, moving a win shy from formally claiming the top spot in the quarterfinals.

Should the Tornadoes emerge victorious over the Blaze Spikers, they will face either Cherrylume or Cocolife in the crossover quarterfinals on July 1 at the Malolos Sports and Convention Center in Malolos, Bulacan.

“Things are now getting tough. Everybody is playing hard,” said Foton coach Moro Branislav shortly after the Tornadoes pulled off the great escape.

“We have to double our effort and correct our mistakes. Petron is a very good team. They are coming off a loss. We have to be prepared because they will surely go for this important victory.”

Jaja Santiago is tipped to serve as the focal point of offense while EJ Laure and Maika Ortiz provide offensive muscle for the Tornadoes, who also have CJ Rosario, Shang Berte, Nica Guliman and Jen Reyes at the defensive end.



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