Foton flirted with disaster before eking out a 26-24, 25-20, 15-25, 25-21 victory over United VC in the opening salvo of the Philippine Superliga Grand Prix yesterday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
American import Courtney Felinski provided the firepower towing the two-time champion Tornadoes to a sizzling start in this prestigious women’s club tournament that has ESPN5 an 5Plus as broadcast partners.
Felinski was on fire as she delivered 19 attacks for a total of 23 points while former Turkish national team member Selime Ilyasoglu chipped in 19 markers and 14 digs for Foton which is looking to bring back the glory in this league that is bankrolled by Asics, Mikasa, Mueller, Senoh, Team Rebel Sports, Bizooku, UCPB Gen, Hotel Sogo and Data Project.
Foton coach Aaron Velez said he was surprised with how well they played especially in the crucial stretch where they were managed to stop Filipino-American spiker Kalei Mau and import Yasmeen Bedart-Ghani from doing damage.
“I’m very happy on how the girls played. Also, the imports were able to step up, especially down the stretch,” said the youthful Velez, who is entering his second season with the Tornadoes.
Already ahead 2-0 Foton looked disoriented in the third set allowing United VC to pull away 11-4 all the way to extend the match.
The Tornadoes were again behind 4-10 in the fourth set but they countered with a 6-0 spurt capped off an Ilyasoglu attack to tie the contest 10-10.
UVC refused to give up and pushed Foton to its limits 18-18 but Ilyasoglu and Felinski were on fire down the stretch to hand the Tornadoes their first win of the season.
“I’m surprised because in training we don’t normally talk, we just train hard, and today the imports were able to jell properly with the team,” said Velez.
Bedart-Ghani delivered 23 points and 14 digs while Mau registered 17 markers for UVC, which also committed 30 unforced errors.