9 December 2016

Foton stormed back from a two-set deficit to escape Petron by the skin of its teeth, 20-25, 21-25, 25-22, 25-17, 15-9, to conquer Game 1 of the Asics Philippine Superliga (PSL) Grand Prix presented by PLDT Home Ultera best-of-three finals showdown Thursday at the Philsports Arena.

Earlier, Mika Reyes unleashed a lightning-quick kill down the stretch to power F2 Logistics to an equally-exciting 25-13, 25-20, 20-25, 20-25, 18-16 victory over RC Cola-Army to bag the bronze medal of this prestigious club tourney bankrolled by Mikasa, Senoh, Mueller and Grand Sport with TV5 as official broadcast partner.

Reyes delivered the go-ahead attack while Lady Troopers’ import Kierra Holst committed an infraction in the ensuing play as the Cargo Movers shut down their campaign in this tourney which also has KLab Cyscorpions, Foton, Focus Athletics, F2 Logistics and Petron as sponsors on a sizzling note.

Import Hayley Spelman led the scoring parade, finishing with 23 kills and two blocks while Aby Marano and Ara Galang chipped in 14 and 12 markers, respectively, for the Cargo Movers, who flirted with a massive disaster before running away with the win in a rugged and emotional battle that lasted for two hours and seven minutes.

But it was Reyes who delivered the biggest blow.

With Holst scoring off a backrow attack to tie the count at 16 in the tension-filled fifth set, Reyes soared for a quick kill at the middle off a lob by Kim Fajardo to give the Cargo Movers the lead, 17-16. Holst tried to go for the equalizer, but her attack went long, sparking a wild celebration for F2 Logistics.  

Reyes, who was part of the team that competed in the FIVB Women’s Club World Championship last October, finished with nine hits, but made her presence felt on defense as she deflected a lot of attacks.

Still, the day belonged to Foton.

Lindsay Stalzer delivered 26 kills and three blocks for 30 points, including some crucial hits down the stretch that powered the Tornadoes from a 3-8 deficit all the way to 12-8 advantage in the tension-filled fifth set.

“It was amazing that we came back. We just finally got our nerves, I think,” said Stalzer, who drew the first blood in her personal duel with Petron’s prolific import Stephanie Niemer who finished the night with 32 points.

“We were shaky in the first two sets, but we finally sorted it in the third set.”

Aside from Stalzer, Ariel Usher also shone with 19 points while Jaja Santiago finished with only seven after sustaining a sprained ankle midway in the second set. 

Game Two is set Saturday at the Philsports Arena.