Philippine SuperLiga
12 November 2016

Foton stretched its sizzling run to six games as it clobbered a game Generika squad, 25-16, 27-25, 25-20, on Saturday in the Asics Philippine Superliga (PSL) Grand Prix presented by PLDT Home Ultera Saturday at the Malolos Sports and Convention Center in Malolos City, Bulacan.

Imports Lindsay Stalzer and Ariel Usher led the assault with 21 and 20 hits, respectively, for the Tornadoes, who continue to miss the services of middle blocker Jaja Santiago who is in Japan with her collegiate squad.

On the same note, Hayley Spelman came up with a major rebound as she powered F2 Logistics to an impressive 25-16, 25-16, 22-25, 25-16 victory over a depleted Cignal squad in the first game of this explosive triple-header sponsored by Mikasa, Asics, Mueller, Senoh and Grand Sport with TV5 as official broadcast partner.

Spelman, a 6-foot-7 American, posted big numbers, but it was the local crew who carried the fight in the deciding set to tow the Cargo Movers to this crucial victory in this prestigious inter-club tourney that also has Focus Athletics, KLab Cyscorpions, Foton, Petron and F2 Logistics as sponsors.

It was the Cargo Movers’ fourth win in seven outings, putting them behind reigning champion Foton (6-0) and Petron (5-1) in the leaderboard of this battle.

Petron, however, is also still clashing with RC Cola-Army as of press time.

A former member of the United States juniors national women’s team, Spelman torched the HD Spikers with 21 kills and a pair of blocks for game-high 23 points, a performance way better than her six-point effort when they bowed to Stephanie Niemer and Petron in their previous match last Thursday.

Skipper Cha Cruz backed her up with 11 markers while Sydney Kemper submitted 10 hits for F2 Logistics, which obviously took advantage of the absence of Puerto Rican star Lynda Morales at the defensive end.

Kim Fajardo was also impressive as she dominated the playmaking department with 35 of the Cargo Movers’ 38 excellent sets while her counterpart, Shawna-Lei Santos, notched only 15 assists.

The Cargo Movers also reigned supreme in attack department, 55-32, as well as at the defensive end with five blocks compared to the HD Spikers’ one.

“Off yung team last time,” said F2 Logistics coach Ramil de Jesus. “So we figured out what they can and cannot do. You can see it in my rotation, I was experimenting on the things we need to adjust.”

After easily conquering the first two sets, the Cargo Movers found themselves in trouble as they fell into a maze of errors in the third set. Then, Janine Marciano caught fire, turning a 19-20 deficit into a slim 22-21 edge before F2 Logistics committed three straight errors to give Cignal the set victory.

However, it was a different story in the fourth set as Spelman came out firing to give F2 Logistics a 14-11 advantage. De Jesus opted to pull her out, allowing the local crew of Cruz, Mika Reyes, Aby Marano and Cyd Demecillo to do the damage and give the Cargo Movers a 19-13 advantage en route to the victory.

“There are times that you’re not familiar with the movements of your imports,” de Jesus said. “There are times that I insert the locals because the opposing team manages to anticipate the plays and tendencies of our imports.”

Marciano, a fresh recruit from the other league, finished with nine kills and four aces for 13 points while Paneng Mercado had 11 markers, who faced her former La Salle teammates for the second time in this conference.

Import Laura Schaudt, for her part, chipped in seven hits.

Cignal remains at the bottom of the standings with a 1-4 slate.