Tornadoes roar to semis vs Blaze Spikers

By Kristina Villanueva

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CJ Rosario and Ivy Perez of Foton block a hard spike by Jona Sabete of Sta. Lucia Realty in their Philippine Superliga Grand Prix game last night at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan.

Games tomorrow (Mall of Asia Arena)

4 p.m. – F2 Logistics vs Cocolife

6 p.m. – Petron vs Foton

MANILA, Philippines — Three-peat-seeking Foton survived Sta. Lucia’s spirited challenge, 21-25, 25-17, 25-23, 25-17, to forge a semis duel with Petron in the Chooks-to-Go Philippine Superliga Grand Prix at the Filoil Flying V Center yesterday.

Sara Klisura and Jaja Santiago combined for 44 points while Dragana Perunicic and Maika Ortiz banged in 12 apiece as the third-seeded Tornadoes regrouped after dropping the first set and booked an interesting Last-4 duel with Petron.

“This is a very difficult match today against one good team,” said Foton’s Serbian coach Moro Branislav.

Facing an inspired Sta. Lucia squad coming off back-to-back wins in the elims, Foton found itself trailing early on and eventually yielded the set after the Lady Realtors closed out with a 7-3 salvo. 

Dindin Santiago-Manabat briefly saw action in the second and third sets, drawing cheers from the crowd as she returned for the first time since suffering an ACL in the Invitational Conference last March.

Ivy Perez swung two service aces in Foton’s 6-0 spurt for an early 10-4 lead in the second set which they stretched to eight, 24-16, on another unanswered run anchored on back-to-back aces by Jaja Santiago.

The Tornadoes then nearly saw its 23-19 third-set edge collapse. The Lady Realtors saved the set point on Sabete’s hit that sliced through two defenders but Klisura sealed the set victory for the Tornadoes with a block on Djanel Cheng.

Jaja Santiago, Perunicic, Klisura and Maika Ortiz then teamed up for Foton in the fourth frame, which they dominated from the onset.

Ukrainian Bohdana Anisova smashed 21 markers, Pam Lastimosa wound up with 12 while Canadian Marisa Field and MJ Phillips added 10 apiece for Sta. Lucia.

Fifth-ranked Cocolife leaned on strong finishes in the first two sets then fought from five points down in the third as it silenced fourth-seeded and short-handed Cignal HD, 25-23, 25-23, 25-20, to arrange a semifinal tiff with F2 Logistics.

The HD Spikers, who played sans Jovelyn Gonzaga (right knee muscle strain) and Rachel Daquis (recovering from dengue) anew, saw another player go down to injury as Janine Marciano was stretchered out of the court on a bad fall late in the third set after her hit was blocked by Michele Gumabao.

The knockout semis is set on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.

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