By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
The Petro Gazz Angels displayed clutch end-game composure to take Game 1 of the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Reinforced Conference grand finals, 25-21, 27-25, 37-35, against the Cignal HD Spikers last December 1, 2022.
Despite the three-set sweep, it was still a tough task to pull off for the Angels as the HD Spikers nearly took the last two sets after gaining the early advantages.
Cignal went for a 25-24 lead in the second set but the almighty duo of MJ Phillips and import Lindsey Vander Weide took matters into their own hands and helped Petro Gazz complete the comeback.
The towering duo controlled the Angels’ middle blocking and swatted away two-straight spike kill attempts from the HD Spikers to save the second set and go up 2-0.
It was the same scenario in the third and final set after the Angels played catch-up most of the time before Vander Weide’s scoring clinic happened in the last 10 minutes of the game.
With the HD Spikers taking the set point at 34-33, the hard-hitting Vander Weide turned from a defensive menace to an offensive freak after uncorking three-straight points to give Petro Gazz the hard-earned Game 1 win.
“Siguro yung lesson lang sa amin nung isang araw against Cignal, nabitawan namin ‘yung third set doon. Mawala ‘yung complacency na kapag nakadalawang set na kami, may chance na mag-off nang kaunti,” said Angels head coach Rald Ricafort.
Vander Weide’s offensive show helped her top score for the Angels and ended up with 34 markers built from 31 successful attacks, two blocks, and a service ace.
Meanwhile, the veteran duo of Myla Pablo and Aiza Maizo-Pontillas turned back the hands of time and contributed 10 points apiece.
Petro Gazz will have the chance to claim the PVL crown this coming Tuesday, December 6, 2022, as they square off with the HD Spikers for Game 2 of the finals.