MANILA, Philippines – With their crushing 25 to 17, 25 to 23, 25 to 15 victory over PLDT in their sudden death match for the other championship slot at the SM Mall of Asia Arena on Thursday, Petro Gazz secured a fourth title matchup with Creamline in the last seven Premier Volleyball League conferences. The Angels defeated the High Speed Hitters with a ferocious run at the halfway point of the first frame, a valiant escape in a back-and-forth second set, and a commanding closeout.
The High Speed Hitters were defeated by their competitors’ constant firepower, bewildering swift assaults, and excellent blocking. In the third set, top offensive player Mean Mendrez was forced to leave the match after falling on Aiza Pontillas of Petro Gazz by mistake.
She did return, but not until the Angels were in charge and preparing for another attempt at PVL glory. Oliver Almadro, coach of the Petro Gazz, stated, “I simply challenged them. We constantly challenge these players, and they embrace it and acknowledge that they can do it. The Angels set the tone for the sweep by surging to a 16 to 11 lead in the opening set before cruising to an eight-point victory, showing that they were able to bounce back from a Game 2 setback. The two-time Reinforced Conference winners, dragged into a fierce second-set battle, prevailed with the help of their seasoned wisdom, taking a 2 to 0 lead thanks to some devastating back-to-back fast plays by MJ Phillips.
Remy Palma then seized control of the game in the third quarter, scoring three points in a row to help Petro Gazz get out to a strong 11 to 5 start. But, the Angels were able to pull away at 20 to 9 and go on to win their best-of-three semi final encounter. The High Speed Hitters rallied from a set down in Game 2 to defeat Petro Gazz 14 to 25, 25 to 23, 25 to 14, 25 to 15, forcing a decider. Petro Gazz defeated PLDT 22 to 25, 25 to 19, 25 to 21, 25 to 18 in Game One. With the lefty Pontillas pounding out a kill right in the middle of the High Speed Hitters’ defense to finish their resounding one-hour, 53-minute triumph, the Angels, however, transformed what was anticipated to be a close, frantic match into a frolic.
After leading the Angels to yet another participation in the league run by Sports Vision’s finals, a visibly upset Jonah Sabete let it all out. But, Creamline, a force to be reckoned with, is poised to take over after last Tuesday’s Final Four, when they defeated F2 Logistics. The first game of the best-of-three finals will start at 6:30. After winning the Reinforced Conference in December, the Cool Smashers are going for their sixth title on Sunday, while the Angels are going for their third and second consecutive victories. In the Open Conference from the previous year, Creamline defeated Petro Gazz. Grethcel Soltones led the team with 12 hits, Palma and Pontillas each contributed nine and seven points, and Phillips finished with 15 points to take the lead. Jovie Prado and Dell Palomate led the way for PLDT with 10 points each, followed by Mika Reyes with seven points, Michelle Morente with six points, and Mendrez who battled but managed to score four points.