IMUS, Cavite — Foton overcame University of the Philippines-UAI, 25-10, 23-25, 25-22, 25-19, on Tuesday for its first win in the Philippine Super Liga Invitational Conference at Imus Sports Center.
Jaja Santiago, Dindin Santiago-Manabat and Bea de Leon showed the way as Foton gets some consolation after bowing out of the quarterfinal race with three straight losses.
Santiago had 24 points built on 21 attacks, while Santiago-Manabat added 14 and de Leon scored nine points, including four of the team’s seven aces.
“Syempre masaya pa rin dahil ’yun nga hindi kami natapos na wala kaming panalo, malaking tulong rin sa kanila na naibalik ’yung morale ng mga bata,” said Foton assistant coach Edjet Mabbayad.
It was the second straight match that Foton played without head coach Rommel Abella, who also handles the University of Sto. Tomas boys’ volleyball team.
“Sobrang hirap kasi ‘yung confidence ng mga bata nakikita namin kung gaano ka baba and syempre kung ano na lang ang natitira na kumpyansa nila pinagtatyagaan na lang namin at trabahuhin namin para kahit papaano magkaroon kami ng confidence so ‘yun ang naging resulta ngayon,” he added.
With Foton down by one, 8-9, Santiago sparked a run to give the Tornadoes a 16-13 advantage.
UP-UAI fought back to regain the lead, 20-17, but Santiago-Manabat and de Leon combined for six straight points for a 23-20 advantage before Santiago sealed the third set win for Foton.
“Sabi ko sa kanila nothing to lose, i-enjoy lang nila ang laro,” said Mabbayad. “Sinabi ko lang kapag nara-rattle sila ibalik lang nila ‘yung breathing nila para lang marelax sila.”
Marian Buitre scored 16 and Isa Molde had 12 markers for UP-UAI, which slid to 0-3 in Pool B.