Foton makes PSL finals, ousts no. 1 Philips Gold
Linday Stalzer’s spikes made the loudest noise last night.
In danger of completely crumbling after losing a two-set lead, Foton turned to the hard-pounding Stalzer—who fired seven of her 29 points in the fifth set—to outlast No. 1 team Philips Gold Thursday night and reach the finals of the Philippine Superliga Grand Prix women’s volleyball at Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
The 31-year-old Stalzer served as the ballast for the Tornadoes in the epic 25-18, 26-24, 18-25, 20-25, 15-8 triumph that gave them their first-ever conference finals stint since joining the league two years ago.
“We needed this badly; there was no doubt in our minds that we’re going to win,” said the ravishing 6-foot-1 Stalzer. “We just needed to be louder (in attacks) than them. That volume lifted us up.”
Stalzer scored on 26 attacks and three blocks while the other members of the Foton “triple towers”—Jaja Santiago and Katie Messing—contributed 15 and 13 points, respectively.
The trio made things miserable for the favored Lady Slammers who simply wilted in the deciding set.
Foton coach Vilet Ponce de Leon said her team relaxed after building a two sets-to-none lead.
“It was our fault; there was a period that we relaxed,” said Ponce de Leon. “The good thing is that we came back just in time to steal this one.”
And Stalzer led the hard-fighting Tornadoes back into the game with a touch of class. The stalwart from Bradley University in Chicago found the right angles in the fifth set, preventing the Lady Slammers from trying to set up their own offensive.
“She knows how the game is played here in the Philippines,” Ponce de Leon said of Stalzer. “She’s a seasoned veteran and knows how to step up when the going gets tough.”
Philips Gold’s regular topscorer Bojana Todorovic posted 31 points and contributed a lot of the intangibles for her side, especially on defense.
“I got to do defense,” said Todorovic. “I got to dig. I got to score. That’s a lot of responsibility on my part. But I could have done a lot better.”
Incidentally, Todorovic said she would retire from the sport next May.
Alexis Olgard scored 19 points, while Myla Pablo chipped in 10 for the Lady Slammers.
The Tornadoes showed their resilience under attack by collecting 47 excellent digs against the Lady Slammers’ 40.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.