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.