Ranged against a relatively young team, Foton used its experience to the hilt as it dominated Cignal, 25-18, 26-24, 25-23, in the opening salvo of the PLDT Home Ultera Philippine Superliga All-Filipino Conference at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Patty Orendain, a prized recruit from University of Saint La Salle in Bacolod, delivered a sizzling performance as she towed the Tornadoes to their first victory in this prestigious inter-club tournament organized by Sports Core with Air 21, My Phone, Via Mare, Mikasa, Mueller Sports Medicine, Healthway Medical, Generika Drugstore, LGR and Jinling Sports as technical partners.
Orendain finished with 16 kills and an ace for a total of 18 points while former University of the Philippines stalwart Nicole Tiamzon registered 14 points in her debut performance.
“I liked how they played,” said Foton coach Villet Ponce-de Leon, whose wards are looking for a major rebound after finishing fifth in the six-team competition in the Grand Prix last year.
“We didn’t have any warm up and we were jittery at the start. But their real game came out in the second and third sets. They showed that they are the more experienced team. They showed that they are the more seasoned players.”
Cignal, on the other hand, was a picture of frustration all game long.
With the departure of grizzled veterans like Aby Praca, Honey Royse Tubino and Danika Gendrauli in favor of young guns, the HD Spikers were struggling for form right from the start.
They had the chance to stretch the game to another set, but Orendain, Tiamzon and rookie Angeli Araneta restored order in the crucial stretch of the third set to seal the victory for the Tornadoes.
“What I have is a very young team,” said Cignal coach Sammy Acaylar. “They had opening-game jitters and couldn’t get it going early on. I hope we will jell and improve our chemistry as the tournament goes on.”
Janine Navarro finished with seven kills for a total of 10 points to emerge as the lone bright spot for the HD Spikers, who finished fourth last conference despite the presence of American Lindsay Stalzer and Sarah Ammerman.
Games Thursday at the Alonte Sports Arena Binan, Laguna
4:15 pm — Petron vs Foton
6:15 pm — Shopinas vs Mane ‘N Tail
[fbphotos id=946980825320967 limit=16]