The Foton Tornadoes finished the 2014 Philippine SuperLiga Grand Prix on a good note after they overtook Mane ‘n Tail in five sets, 25-23, 18-25, 17-25, 25-12, 15-12, in the battle for fifth in the women’s division held on November 30 at the Cuneta Astrodome.
After claiming the first set, Foton let Mane ‘n Tail take the next two before arranging a winner-take-all fifth frame. From there, Irina Tarasova and Dzi Gervacio went to work and combined for eight points to give the Tornadoes a 10-5 scoreline.
Kristy Jaeckel and Rossan Fajardo then attempted a comeback, but Jaeckel’s last attack error turned out to be Foton’s match point.
“Bumaba yung pace nung second and third set, medyo nalungkot yung mga bata,” said coach Vilet Ponce de Leon. “Nilabas ko yung malungkot, pinasok ko yung mga masasaya. Nag-work naman. Proud naman ako sa bench ko kasi they performed.”
Irina Tarasova had her best match in the tournament with a team high 33 points (26 attacks, three blocks, four service aces). Gervacio was the top local scorer with 13 markers, 12 of which came from attacks, while Elena Tarasova had 12.
“Sabi niya babawi siya,” coach Vilet replied when asked about the multitasking lawyer-to-be. “Ang dami niyang absent kasi nag-aaral siya. Tinanong ko siya, ‘On our last game, will you be there?’ Sabi niya, ‘Yes, boss, babawi ako.’ Nakaka-attend naman siya ng practices namin, so nai-prepare niya sarili niya for this match.”
Rubie de Leon won the battle of setters with 56 excellent sets in 144 attempts and five points as Kaylee Manns had an output of 39 successful sets in 111 tries and six points.
“Malaki yung role niya,” Ponce de Leon pertained to the former University of Santo Tomas setter, who Foton took on loan from the PLDT franchise.
Jaeckel reset the records one last time before she returns home with a game high 41 points, broken down into 35 attacks, three blocks, and three service points as her team placed last in the season ending tournament.
“Sinabi ko nga sa kanila, mas masrap mag-achieve ng mas mataas. But kung sa preparation compared sa other teams na nakalaro namin dito, we were the last who were formed,” the winning mentor looked back on her team’s performance. “Natalo namin ang Cignal, natalo namin ang Mane ‘n Tail, natalo namin ang (RC Cola) Air Force, tapos naka-set kami with Petron. Nakita namin yung progress (and) development namin na maybe if we started earlier, we can attain for a higher rank. Ngayon, we are only aiming to perform good, and we achieved that.” (JP Abcede)
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