Tyler Maria Kalei Mau of United Volleyball Club hammers down a winner over a helpless Christine Joy Rosario of Foton Tornadoes in the opener of the Philippine Superliga Grand Prix 2019 at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
Joey Mendoza
Tornadoes unleash fury early
Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star) - February 17, 2019 - 12:00am

Philippine Superliga Grand Prix

MANILA, Philippines — Imports Courtney Felinski and Selime Ilyasoglu took charge as Foton Tornadoes beat new-look United Volleyball Club,  26-24, 25-20, 15-25, 25-21, in the opener of the Philippine Superliga Grand Prix yesterday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.

American Felinski punched in 23 while Turkish Ilyasoglu added 19 as the Tornadoes kicked off their bid in the 2019 season on a rousing note.

“I’m very happy with how the girls played and the imports were able to step up, especially in closing the match,” said Foton coach Aaron Velez.

Felinski and Ilyasoglu were ever present when Foton needed them in the windup of each won set.

UVC got on the hill first in the initial frame but Ilyasoglu saved it with a kill, then put Foton on set point with an ace before Felinski sealed it with a hit.

The duo then presided over a telling 7-1 assault in the second, allowing the Tornadoes to take a 2-0 set lead.

Though they failed to complete a sweep , Felinski and Ilyasoglu made sure they got the job done in the fourth with the American striking for four straight points to give the team a 23-20 cushion.

Ilyasoglu also showcased her defensive work, posting 14 digs to back up libero Jennylyn Reyes’ 25 in the department.

Skipper Maika Ortiz, Shaya Adorador and CJ Rosario chipped in six apiece for Foton.

Yasmeen Bedart-Ghani paced UVC with 23 markers plus 14 digs as Kalei Mau added 17 and Justine Tiu 12 and Fil-Am playmaker Taira Robins-Hardy tossed 29 excellent sets on her debut.

The PSL officially unwrapped its new season wth a day of festivities that started with a parade of the eight participating teams from Oranbo Barangay Hall to the Ynares Sports Arena, giving fans an opporunity to see their favorite stars before the action in the import-flavored conference started.

PSL chairman Philip Ella Juico gave the opening remarks during the formal opening rites then Philippine Olympic Committee secretary-general, on behalf of POC president Ricky Vargas, gave an inspirational speech, where he urged volleyball lovers “to elevate the status of Phl volleyball to a world-class level” and Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc.’s Peter Cayco gave the closing remarks.

TV5 president and CEO Chot Reyes declared the PSL games open then it’s off to the court with UVC and Foton strutting their stuff first before Sta. Lucia and Generika Ayala took the floor in the nightcap.

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