Petron coach Pascua left impressed by fearless Foton rookie Nicole Tiamzon
Nicole Tiamzon of Foton had 21 points in the loss to powerhouse Petron. Csar Dancel

NICOLE Tiamzon was again at the forefront of Foton in its Philippine Super Liga All-Filipino Conference showdown against powerhouse Petron, which the Tornadoes lost, 18-25, 24-26, 25-20, 19-25 on Thursday night at the Alonte Sports Arena in Binan, Laguna.

But the rookie player did earn the respect of Blaze Spikers coach George Pascua after firing a team-high 21 points.

“’Yung puso at character sa paglalaro nandoon,” the veteran mentor said of the 19-year-old spiker. “Marami pang pahihirapan ang batang ‘yan.”

Tiamzon had to do it almost all by herself for Foton against the well-balanced attack of Petron led by last year’s top rookie Dindin Santiago-Manabat with 23 points, Frances Molina with 14, skipper Maica Morada and Rachel Anne Daquis with 11 apiece, and Aby Marano with 10.

With help from Patty Orendain, Tiamzon, a University of the Philippines stalwart, kept the Tornadoes in the thick of the fight as she helped the team dodge a straight-sets loss by taking the third set.

Foton also got significant contributions from rookies Pam Lastimosa, and second overall pick Angeli Araneta.

“Ang Foton is a very good team,” said Pascua. “Mga young guns ang meron sila, mas maganda kasi mas aggressive sila.”

The loss was the first for the Tornadoes, who dropped to an even 1-1 card behind Petron’s unbeaten 2-0 slate.

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