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Sports

Foton twits Philips Gold, enters final vs Petron

The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – Foton blew a 2-0 set lead but came out strong in the decider to fashion out a stirring 25-18, 26-24, 18-25, 20-25, 15-8 upset of top seed Philips Gold and barge into the finals of the Philippine Superliga Grand Prix women’s volleyball tournament at The Arena in San Juan last night.

Import Lindsay Stalzer capped her game-long brilliance with a seven-hit binge in the fifth set and the fourth-ranked Tornadoes pounced on the Lady Slammers’ miscues and poor reception to pound out the victory that put them into the best-of-three finals.

The 6-foot-1 former Bradley University star, who campaigned for Cignal in last year’s edition of the season-ending conference, finished with 26 kills and three blocks for a team-high 29 points while providing the hustle and leadership down the crucial stretch of the deciding set that took the sting out of the fancied Lady Slammers.

“She knows the game here in the Philippines,” said Foton coach Villet Ponce-de Leon. “She is a seasoned player. She is my captain inside the court and she knows the game very well. That’s why we never hesitated to go to her when the going was getting tough.”

But while Philips Gold failed to live up to its hype, the second seed Petron stayed in the title hunt, beating Cignal HD, 25-20, 26-24, 20-25, 25-13, in the other knockout semis duel of the inter-club tourney presented by Asics and backed by Milo with Senoh, Mikasa and Mueller as technical sponsors and TV5 as official broadcaster.

Game One of the title playoff is set Monday.

Jaja Santiago chipped in 15 points while Katie Messing had 13 markers for the Tornadoes.

“We’re on the right track,” Ponce-de Leon said. “This is our goal. This is where we want to be right from the start. Now that we’re already in this situation, we will work hard to win the ultimate prize which is the championship trophy. This win is a major boost to our team.”

The Tornadoes jumped the gun early on the Lady Slammers, who finished the double round elims with an 8-2 mark, and swept the first two sets.

But former UCLA star Bojana Todorovic found her rhythm and Alexis Olgard and Myla Pablo regained their bearing as the Lady Slammers fought back strong and racked up the next two frames, much to the excitement of the huge crowd.

But Foton, behind Stalzer’s hot spikes from the backrow, seized control early, winning eight of the first 12 points. The Lady Slammers tried to fight back, but Todorovic made four of Philips Gold’s five errors before Santiago scored on a running attack to seal the victory.

“Foton played really well. They showed up prepared,” said Todorovic, the former UCLA varsity who won a national title in 2011. “I can give you a thousand excuses, but it’s just a game – someone’s gonna win, someone’s gonna lose.”

Todorovic had all of her 31 points on kills while Olgard delivered 19 hits and Pablo added 10 markers for the Lady Slammers, who will face the HD Spikers for third at the Imus Sports Complex in Cavite this weekend.

ACIRC

ALEXIS OLGARD AND MYLA PABLO

BOJANA TODOROVIC

BRADLEY UNIVERSITY

BUT FOTON

CIGNAL

FOTON

GAME ONE

LADY SLAMMERS

PHILIPS GOLD

TODOROVIC

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