PETRON exacted revenge on Foton as it dethroned the three-peat seeking Tornadoes, 30-28, 21-25, 25-23, 25-21, to advance to the Finals of the Philippine Super Liga Grand Prix on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
American imports Lindsay Stalzer and Hillary Hurley finished with 25 and 24 points, respectively, for the Blaze Spikers in a match that took two hours and 35 minutes to finish.
“Laging maganda ‘yung laban, sobrang thankful talaga kami kasi nung last year, na first time ko nag-coach ng Grand Prix, sila rin ‘yung kalaban namin sa finals and hindi kami nanalo sa kanila,” said Petron coach Shaq delos Santos.
“Kumbaga, sa amin, parang napakalaking achievement ngayon na nag-knockout game kami and kami ‘yung nanalo,” he added.
Delos Santos admitted the first set was the turning point for the Blaze Spikers.
Petron’s mettle was again tested in the fourth set when Foton saved four match points from 17-24, but Dindin Santiago-Manabat’s service error ended the match.
“Talagang ‘yung team ng Foton, talagang competitive. Talagang strong team sila. Sobrang ang lalaki. Parang sa amin kailangan namin ng mahabang pasensya. Tyagain namin every point na gagawin namin,” said delos Santos.
The Blaze Spikers, who were the Tornadoes’ victim in the last two Grand Prix editions, will face F2 Logistics in the best-of-three Finals which starts on Tuesday at The Arena in San Juan.
The title series will be a repeat of this year's All-Filipino Conference championship, with the Blaze Spikers and the Cargo Movers meeting each other again.
Jaja Santiago made 23 points for Foton, while Serbian import Sara Klisura added 22, and Montenegrin reinforcement Dragana Perunicic chipped in 13.
The Tornadoes were relegated to the battle for third against Cocolife.