MANILA (UPDATED) -- Reigning champion Foton needed four sets to put away Sta. Lucia Realty, 21-25, 25-17, 25-23, 25-17, in the quarterfinals of the Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga (PSL) Grand Prix on Thursday at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
Import Sara Klisura and Jaja Santiago spearheaded the Tornadoes’ furious attack in the crucial stretch of the third set to pull off the victory and march into the semifinals.
Foton will be clashing with a familiar foe in Petron in the sudden-death semis on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Although Foton is slightly favored after reigning supreme over Petron in the past two championship duels, head coach Moro Branislav remains guarded, knowing that the Blaze Spikers are fresh from a heart-stopping five-set victory over Generika-Ayala in the quarterfinals.
“Foton likes playing against Petron,” said Branislav, promising an all-out war for a golden chance to make it back to the best-of-three finals that starts next Tuesday.
“This will be a very interesting battle. Unlike in the finals that we have three games, in the semifinals, it’s just one match and you’re out. So, we have to give our best against Petron if we want to defend our title.”
Klisura, who unleashed a record-breaking 41-point effort two weeks ago, regained her deadly form as she erupted for 20 kills and three blocks for a game-high 23 points, while Santiago delivered 21 markers for the Tornadoes, who started out slow before catching fire in the third set en route to this impressive victory.
Meanwhile, Cocolife pounced hard on a depleted Cignal side to pull off a 25-23, 25-23, 25-20 victory in the other quarterfinal battle.
Imports Tai Manu-Olevao and Taylor Milton took up the cudgels offensively, but it was a total team effort as the experience and aggressiveness of the Asset Managers carried them all throughout the dramatic one hour and 38 minutes of action.
With the win, the Asset Managers formally made it to the semifinals for the first time where they will face top seed F2 Logistics in a sudden-death battle this Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“This is a very big achievement,” said Cocolife head coach Kungfu Reyes, noting that they have improved tremendously after finishing seventh in the Invitational Conference and fifth in the All-Filipino Conference.
“But we will not settle for a fourth-place finish. We will fight hard to over-achieve and make it all the way to the finals.”
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