By Kristel Satumbaga
(Philsports Arena, Pasig City)
5 p.m. – Foton vs Petron
After pulling off a Houdini act in the series opener, Foton hopes to apply the broom against Petron as they clash in Game 2 of their Philippine Superliga Grand Prix best-of-three finals today at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City.
The Tornadoes battled back from a two-set deficit to turn back the Tri-Activ Spikers, 20-25, 21-25, 25-22, 25-17, 15-9, late Thursday at The Arena in San Juan to move a victory shy of retaining the crown in the import-laden conference.
Despite having the momentum, coach Moro Branislav is bracing for another difficult encounter in the 5 p.m. showdown.
“Game 2 will be very dramatic. Petron is a very good team. My team didn’t start good (in this game) and we cannot allow that to happen again,” said Branislav.
In Game 1, Foton found it hard to stop Stephanie Niemer, who spearheaded Petron’s attacks on all angles and finished with 32 monster points. But the Tornadoes were able to regain their offensive touch late in the fifth set courtesy of Lindsay Stalzer’s hard-hitting plays.
Stalzer eventually finished with 30 points including 26 kills and three blocks, overshadowing Niemer’s efforts.
Petron, however, put the game under protest, saying a crucial call midway in the final set changed the complexion of the game.
Leading 8-6, an attack from Petron spiker Ces Molina was called outside.
The team called for a video challenge, claiming Molina’s attack had grazed the finger of a Foton blocker, but the referee still upheld his earlier decision.
Since then, the team lost its focus and fell into a maze of errors.
The protest is being deliberated at presstime, but whatever the decision of the league, expect the Tri-Activ Spikers to go all out in the match to forge a deciding Game 3 on Tuesday.