Stalzer, Hurley scorch hot as Petron eliminates Foton to return to PSL finals
MANILA, Philippines – The Petron Blaze Spikers sapped strength from imports Lindsay Stalzer and Hillary Hurley to eke out a 30-28, 21-25, 25-23, 25-21 triumph over Foton Tornadoes and complete the finals cast of the 2at the Mall of Asia Arena Saturday, December 9.
Stalzer dropped a game-high 25 points, spiked by 22 attacks and 2 blocks, to anchor the Blaze Spikers while Hurley backstopped with 24 markers, built on 21 kills, 2 blocks and an ace.
The game marked Foton’s second defeat to Petron this season. The Tornadoes, who finished the elimination round with a 7-1 card, suffered its lone loss from the Blaze Spikers.
Leading by just a point in the fourth set, 18-17, the Blaze Spikers scored 6 straight markers, highlighted by a Stalzer kill and block, to be a point away from returning to the finals, 24-17.
Foton scored four consecutive points, capped by back-to-back hits from Maika Ortiz, to make things interesting, 21-24. However, a service error from Dindin Santiago sealed Petron’s finals berth.
“Laging maganda ‘yung laban, sobrang thankful talaga kami kasi noong last year na first time ko nag-coach ng Grand Prix, sila rin 'yung kalaban namin sa finals and hindi kami nanalo sa kanila. Kung baga sa amin, parang napakalaking achievement ngayon na nag-knockout game kami and kami 'yung nanalo,” said Petron head coach Shaq delos Santos.
(It is always a great game. I am really thankful since last year, when I coached in the Grand Prix for the first time, it was Foton who defeated us in the finals. This is a huge achievement for us that we faced in a knockout game and we won.)
The Tornadoes held a 19-17 lead in the third set before Petron arrived at set point off a 7-2 blitz, 24-21.
Jaja Santiago and Sara Klisura unloaded two consecutive attacks to keep Foton alive but a Stalzer hit gave the Blaze Spikers a 2-1 set lead.
Santiago paced the Tornadoes with 23 markers, 17 coming from attacks and 4 coming from blocks, while Klisura added 22 points. Dragana Perunicic added 13 in the loss.
Petron will face the F2 Logistics Cargo Movers in the best-of-3 finals starting on Tuesday, December 12, 7 pm, at the Arena in San Juan while Petron will meet the Cocolife Asset Managers to vie for the bronze at 4 pm. – Rappler.com