Petron forces rubber match in PSL GP finals

By Ivan Saldajeno

PASAY--Petron showed its championship experience on Monday as it pushed the PSL Grand Prix Finals to the limit with a 25-13, 25-21, 23-25, 26-24 victory over Foton in Game 2 of the best-of-three series at the Cuneta Astrodome.

The Blaze Spikers appeared to be heading to a shutout of the match after taking a 2-0 lead after Set 2, but the Lady Tornadoes began a fightback when their "Big 3" of Lindsay Stalzer, Jaja Santiago, and Katie Messing led them to the Set 3 victory.

Foton, looking to further extend the match to a fifth set, put up a gallant fight in the fourth frame, opening a 22-19 cushion.

But Rupia Inck scored four straight attacks to give Petron a 23-22 edge, pushing the team to the brink of winning the match.

Patty Orendain put an end to Inck's spiking spree as she scored a block on her, and Messing added another spike point to pull the Lady Tornadoes to set point.

Inck, however, was not done yet as she bounced back and scored another kill to force the deuce.

Dindin Manabat then brought the Blaze Spikers to match point by blocking Stalzer's hit.

Messing tried to re-force the deadlock, but her spike went barely outside the line, and Petron walked away with the series equalizer.

Inck finished with 25 points off 24 spikes, while Manabat and Aby MaraƱo chipped in 16 each for the Blaze Spikers, who are looking to complete a grand slam of the PSL season after winning the All-Filipino Conference earlier this year.

Stalzer tallied 23 markers for the Lady Tornadoes, who missed on their first try of winning the Grand Prix pennant.

The winner-take-all Game 3 is set on Saturday at the same venue.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno