Foton takes down RC Cola-Army to advance to PSL All-Filipino finals
Sisi Rondina and Jaja Santiago sealed Foton's seat to the PSL All Filipino finals. Dante Peralta

FOTON bounced back from its slow start to boot out four-time champion RC Cola Army, 21-25, 25-19, 25-15, 25-21, and advance to the finals of the Philippine Super Liga All Filipino Conference at Malolos Sports and Convention Center in Bulacan on Thursday.

The Tornadoes will face the winner of the F2 Logistics-Petron match on Saturday.

Rookie EJ Laure made 21 points for Foton, while Jaja Santiago chipped in 17, Maika Ortiz contributed 14 and Sisi Rondina finished with 13.

“’Di pa tapos, wala pa naman reason to celebrate,” said Foton coach Vilet Ponce de Leon. “The Finals is going to be another tough match for us kahit sinasabi na nagpi-peak na kami.”

“Marami pa kaming kailangan ayusin, masyado pang marami ‘yung errors,” she added.

Foton frustrated RC Cola Army by targeting opposite spiker and top hitter Jovelyn Gonzaga, while Tornadoes setter Rhea Dimaculangan created plays that worked well for the 6-foot-5 middle blocker Santiago.

Back-to-back errors from RC Cola Army handed Foton the upper hand, 23-18, in the fourth set before the Lady Troopers fought back and scored two straight points, 20-23.

Rondina then pushed Foton at match point before Ginnie Sabas scored Army's final score, 21-24, with Santiago’s attack on a triple block sending the Tornadoes to the Finals.

With their streak of landing in the finals snapped, the Lady Troopers will settle for the third place against the loser between the Cargo Movers and defending champion Tri-Activ Spikers.

RC Cola Army won three consecutive titles, 2013 Inauguration Conference, 2013 Grand Prix, 2014 All Filipino Conference, the Lady Troopers had a two year hiatus and had a grand comeback in the 2016 Invitational Conference. 

“Army is such as tough team to beat,” admitted Ponce de Leon. “Kahit kulang sila, talagang lumaban pa sila at dinaan kami sa sipag at desire. We’re just happy na kahit papaano nagawan namin ng paraan ang sipag nila.”

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Gonzaga finished with 24 points for the Lady Troopers, while Royse Tubino added 12.

Meanwhile, RC Cola Army outside hitter Rachel Anne Daquis will be out for the season due to the heel injury she suffered during their second round game against Foton.

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