Here comes Foton PH | Inquirer Sports

Here comes Foton PH

Tornadoes open women’s club tilt with victory
/ 12:05 AM September 04, 2016

BIÑAN City, Laguna—Foton Pilipinas needed some time to shake off the nerves before brushing off Kwai Tsing of Hong Kong, 25-20, 25-14, 25-10, Saturday and launch its campaign in the Asian Volleyball Confederation Women’s Club Championships at Alonte Arena here.

Locals Jaja Santiago, Jovelyn Gonzaga and Aby Maraño starred for the Tornadoes, who didn’t disappoint the large crowd that trooped here to watch their Philippine Superliga heroines play in the big stage.

“At first it was difficult, but we played as a team,” said the 6-foot-5 team captain Santiago, who led all scorers with 12 points, mostly on power spikes from high above the net.

“But we still have a lot to improve on,” she added as the team even trailed, 8-4, in the first set following a spate of unforced errors.

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That was until Maraño found her range, firing on quick sets and injecting her energy to the Tornadoes through her brand of play which she refers to as “#BMDC”, which is short for “Beast-mode, don’t care.”

“That’s how I play and motivate the team, I want to share that mindset with my teammates,” said Maraño who scored eight points.

Gonzaga scored five of her 11 points in the first frame, including three straight that pushed Foton Pilipinas to a 15-13 lead which stabilized the home team for good.

“I know that the team needs me and what I can contribute,” said Gonzaga who even had highlight-reel pancake—rescuing a point by putting one’s hand flat on the floor to keep the ball alive—off a spike by Hong Kong team captain Cheung Man Lee in the second set that brought the crowd on its feet.

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Foton Pilipinas’ Italian coach Fabio Menta gave the team a grade of 7 1/2 out of 10 “only because I want the team to play at a different level.”

“But considering that we only played together for 18 days, these players did well,” added Menta, who also dedicated the win to the people of Davao City which was rocked by a fatal bomb blast Friday night.

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From the second set, the Filipinos started to use their height advantage and Menta didn’t feel the need to use his reinforcements Ariel Usher and Lindsay Stalzer, who was nursing a bad back.

“I’m confident to a certain extent but we need to work on our defense [and] blocking because against Vietnam we will again have to use our height advantage,” said Menta.

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Foton Pilipinas will next face Vietnam club at 2 p.m. Sunday in a bid to barge into the quarterfinals.

TAGS: Asian Volleyball Confederation Women’s Club Championships, FOTON-PILIPINAS

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