PETROGAZZ showed steely resolve to beat Cignal, 25-21, 27-25, 37-35, and move on the cusp of retaining the Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference crowd at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Lindsey Vander Weide capped an epic 45-minute third set with a kill – her 34th point of the match – that gave the Angels a 1-0 advantage in the best-of-three series.
It was a straight-set loss, but the HD Spikers gave their foes fits before folding in their Finals debut.
Game 2 is set at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday at the Philsports Arena.
Vander Weide was efficient on attacks, going 31-of-53 to go with eight digs and five receptions for PetroGazz.
Aiza Maizo-Pontillas had 10 kills and 10 receptions, while Myla Pablo also scored 10 points for the Angels.
Tai Bierria led Cignal with 18 points, while Ces Molina added nine kills and 11 receptions.
Earlier, Jeanette Panaga matched the season-high in blocks as Creamline, out in the Finals for first time since 2017, beat Chery Tiggo, 25-22, 22-25, 25-5, 25-19, to move on the cusp of securing third place in the
Making the most out of being one of the starting middle blockers in the opener, Panaga was the thorn in the Crossovers’ offense by recording nine blocks as the Cool Smashers secured a 1-0 lead in the series.
Panaga tied Roselyn Doria’s season mark in Cignal’s 17-25, 20-25, 27-25, 25-22, 15-5 victory over PLDT in the battle for bronze medal in the Invitational Conference last August 14.
Coming off a heartbreak where it lost via tiebreak to finalists Cignal and PetroGazz to end a Grand Slam bid, Creamline coach Sherwin Meneses simply wanted to focus of achieving the best possible finish.
“Siyempre, mahirap. Especially kahapon yung sa training namin, nag-usap-usap kami at wala na tayong magagawa diyan. Just finish strong lang. Kung ito lang yung aabutin lang natin ngayon sa last conference, eh tanggapin natin. Bawi na lang kami sa mga susunod na conference,” said Meneses.
The Cool Smashers, who were able to reach the podium in all the conferences they participated since joining the league five years ago, hope to close it out in
Tots Carlos, a two-time conference MVP winner who started in lieu of reinforcement Yeliz Basa, had 19 points and 17 digs, while Alyssa Valdez chipped in 16 points, including four blocks, and 10 digs for Creamline.
Michele Gumabao, a substitute in every set, contributed 11 points while Jema Galanza was the other Cool Smashers player in double digits with 10 points.
Creamline provided the game-changing moment in the third set, racing to a 16-1 lead and eventually held Chery Tiggo to a season-low five points.
Mylene Paat played her worst game for the Crossovers with a conference-low eight points on 7-of-54 attacks.
Roselle Baliton led Chery Tiggo with 10 points, including five blocks and two service aces, while Jelena Cvijovic also had two aces for a nine-point outing.