GEN. TRIAS, Cavite – Foton delivered a good preview of what to expect in the semifinals when it smothered Cignal, 25-19, 25-14, 25-16, on Tuesday night in the Asics Philippine Superliga Grand Prix presented by PLDT Home Ultera before another banner crowd at the Gen. Trias Sports Center here.
Lindsay Stalzer led the scoring parade, but each of her teammates made significant contributions for the Tornadoes, who are already preparing for the semifinals of this prestigious inter-club tourney bankrolled by Mikasa, Mueller, Senoh and Grand Sport with TV5 as official broadcast partner.
It was the Tornadoes’ eighth victory in nine games, moving just a win shy of notching the top seed in the semifinals that start on Dec. 3 at the Ibalong Centrum for Recreation in Albay.
While Foton and Petron have already gained the outright semifinal berths, F2 Logistics, Cignal, Generika and RC Cola-Army have to slug it out in the knockout playoffs this Saturday.
“This is going to be tough from here,” said Foton coach Moro Branislav, whose wards would face the Tri-Activ Spikers for the right to gain the top spot in the semifinals. “We used this game as preparation for the semifinals. It’s a knockout format. So we really have to be prepared and more careful.”
Branislav added that they are not pressured to win their final game of the preliminaries against Petron.
“It’s the same thing,” he said. “Both of us are already in the semis. I don’t see the reason why we should go all out in that game. We should use it to prepare us, instead.”
Stalzer knocked down 15 kills to finish with 17 points while Maika Ortiz had 11 markers for the Tornadoes, who banked on the tall lineup of Rhea Dimaculangan, Dindin Manabat, Jaja Santiago, Maika Ortiz, Ariel Usher and Stalzer from start to finish.
Santiago and Usher tallied eight markers apiece while Manabat chipped in seven hits.
“Everybody stepped up for this game. They showed that they are ready for the semifinals,” said Branislav, who continues to miss the presence of open spikers EJ Laure and Sisi Rondina.
Save for import Laura Schaudt, none from Cignal delivered in double figures in scoring.
Schaudt tallied eight kills, two blocks and two aces for 12 points while playmaker Shawna-Lei Santos had six markers for the HD Spikers, who remain crippled with the absence of Olympian Lynda Morales.
Morales would be out for the season with a fractured foot.
With the setback, Cignal fell to 1-8 and could slide all the way to sixth place pending the result of its game against RC Cola-Army also on Thursday.
(FilOil Flying V Center)
5 pm – RC Cola-Army vs Cignal
7 pm – Foton vs Petron