Foton put special premium on defense to pull off a gigantic upset of Petron XCS, 21-9, 21-8, in the 2016 Philippine Superliga (PSL) Challenge Cup beach volleyball tournament at the Sands By the Bay in Mall of Asia.
Featuring Cherry Rondina and Patty Orendain, the Toplander breezed through the seasoned tandem of Bang Pineda and Aiza Maizo-Pontillas to sweep Pool C in the group stage of this prestigious tournament bankrolled by Accel, Mikasa, Senoh, Petron, Foton with TV5 as official broadcast partner.
Rondina, a UST sophomore who ruled the UAAP beach volleyball competition last year, displayed impressive form as she foiled the attacks of the taller Maizo-Pontillas while Orendain took care of the backline defense.
The Toplander roared to a sizzling start in the first set to throw the Tri-Activ Spikers off their comfort zone, thanks to their airtight defense and well-placed drop shots.
“We just did what we’re doing in practice,” said Rondina, who used to rule the beach volley circuit in Cebu before transferring to Manila. “They (Maizo-Pontillas and Pineda) are such a veteran team. So we focused on the defense and made sure that we won’t commit any unnecessary errors.”
With the win, the Toplander will be marching to the quarterfinals unscathed while the Tri-Activ Spikers absorbed their first loss following a rousing victory over Mapua and Accel Quantum Plus in the opening weekend of this annual tourney that has Sands By the Bay as venue partner.
Foton will be facing Petron Sprint 4T of Maica Morada and Frances Molina in the quarterfinals on Sunday next week.
Also making their presence felt are the tandem of reigning champion Norie Jane Diaz and Pau Soriano of Standard Insurance Navy A, which emerged victorious over UE Manila of Angelica Dacaymat and Jasmine Alcayde, 21-8, 21-11; as well as powerhouse F2 Logistics of Aby Marano and Danika Gendrauli, which shut down Standard Insurance Navy B of Florence Madulid and Pauline Genido, 21-13, 21-7.
Meanwhile, Philippine Navy B of Pajiji Alsali and Milover Parcon hammered back-to-back victories to gain a head start in the men’s division.
Alsali and Parcon pulled off a 21-17, 21-13 conquest of Wayuk of Philip Bagalay and John Cuzon before marching back later in the day to dominate Arjay Salcedo and Bobby Gatdula of IEM, 21-15, 21-15.
Also emerging victorious are FEU A, which beat Wayuk, 21-18, 21-16; IEM, which defeated UE Manila, 21-13, 22-20; Cignal Team Awesome, which clobbered FEU B, 21-16, 21-12; and TVM, which smothered FEU B, 21-16, 21-15.