FOTON put on a masterclass on Saturday to dethrone Petron, 25-18, 25-18, 25-17, in the Philippine Super Liga Grand Prix finals and win its maiden championship at the Cuneta Astrodome.
Lindsay Stalzer and Katie Messing starred in the surprisingly easy win in the winner-take-all match that made Foton just the third team after Army and back-to-back titlist Petron to win a championship in the three-year-old commercial league.
Stalzer poured in 20 points on the way to winning MVP of the Conference honors while Messing added 14 points and second best middle blocker Jaja Santiago chipped in 11 for the Tornadoes.
Foton coach Vilet Ponce de Leon said the win, fashioned out in just an hour and 25 minutes, can't be any sweeter.
“Ang sarap (ng panalo) parang chocolate mousse, leche flan ganoon,” she said. “Kasi pinagtrabahuhan namin eh, kaya mas masarap ‘yung panalo kasi pinaghirapan ng team and it’s a collaborative effort not just the coaching staff, not just the players but buong team talaga.
“How sweet it is, sabi nga nila.”
Foton dominated the game from start to finish but it was only in the third set, after the Tornadoes took a commanding 21-16 lead, that Ponce de Leon felt they had it in the bag.
“Siguro sa third set noong nag-21 na, lumampas na sa 20 ang score namin, and nakita ko ang score nila (I felt panalo na kami),” she said.
“Tapos nakita ko kung papano kumapit ang mga bata tapos palitan lang ang bola, so sabi ko amin na ito. And nakita ko they are not faltering eh kung ano ang attitude nila sa first point ganon pa rin toward the end of the game,” she added.
After opening the best-of-three series with a 14-25, 25-21, 25-19, 25-22 win, the Tornadoes collapsed in Game Two, 13-25, 21-25, 25-23, 24-26.
“Nakita na namin where we stand, nakita na namin sa Game One kung ano ang kaya naming gawin, it’s just that sa Game Two talaga medyo may ano eh, sa mindset lang nagkaroon ng problem that day. Ok lang, sabi ko nga, if we have to take it the hard way, we will take it the hard way eh,” she said.
Dindin Santiago-Manabat, who had 14 points, was the lone player who finished in double figure for Petron.
Other individual awardess are Cignal’s Ariel Usher (1st Best Outside Spiker); Philips Golds’ Bojana Todorovic (2nd Best Outside Spiker); Philips Golds’ Alexis Olgard (1st Middle Blocker); Foton’s Ivy Perez (1st Best Setter); Petron’s Erica Adachi (2nd Best Setter); Philips Golds’ Michelle Gumabao (1st Best Opposite Spiker); Petron’s Frances Molina (2nd Best Opposite Spiker) and Petron’s Jen Reyes (Best Libero).