MANILA, Philippines – At the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Thursday, the Petro Gazz Angels advanced closer to keeping the Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference championship by winning 25 to 21, 27 to 25, 37 to 35 thanks to the hard-hitting Lindsey Vander Weide, who founded Cignal’s defense with blows that the HD Spikers couldn’t withstand.
In a remarkable match of strength, cunning, and poise at the endgame, Vander Weide unleashed six bombs to score the Angels’ final 11 points. Three of them salvaged the set, and her final piercing strike was caught between Fatima General’s arms and knees to complete Petro Gazz’s one-hour, 48-minute victory.
When Vander Weide rotated to a back row position, Aiza Pontillas took over with three straight hits, making it 33 to 32 for the Angels, who stunned the Creamline Cool Smashers in sudden death to win this conference in 2019 at the Ynares Center in Antipolo. The fiery American finished with 31 attacks for a 34-point output and drew 10 points each from Myla Pablo and Aiza Pontillas.
A rare Vander Weide attack blunder brought the HD Spikers to set point last at 35 to 34 as they continued to come back behind Tai Bierria, Roselyn Doria, and Ces Molina. The latter, though, persisted as well, turning the last two feeds from Djanel Cheng into the slim points that saved the Angels from retaining their one and only PVL championship by one victory.
Although it was difficult, Vander Weide remarked, “I just knew whatever ball I grabbed I had to score.”
She added two blocks and an ace, so she did that as well as more.
Up next, the Angels will attempt to sweep the Philsports Arena in Pasig.
The first two sets of the match might have gone either way, but the Angels showed their championship poise in the decisive moments, outlasting their opponents who were in their maiden finals after placing third in the Open Conference and Invitational. The contest ultimately went to three sets.
Cheng, who finished with 18 fantastic sets and two points, said, “We’re so happy (for the win), but we had many mistakes that we need to fix in time for the next game.
The opening two sets of the match might have gone either way, but even though it was decided in three, only the Angels displayed their championship poise when it mattered most, outlasting their opponents who were in their maiden finals after placing third in the Open Conference and Invitational.
According to Cheng, who finished with 18 superb sets and two points, “We’re really delighted (for the win), but we had many mistakes, which we need to rectify in time for the next game.”
“Siguro [I guess], the lesson you gave me today is the third set that you were supposed to take. Rald Ricafort, coach of Petro Gazz, warned against complacency: “May chance na mag-off ng kaunti kapag naka-dalawang set na kami. [there is still a chance that we got off a bit when we got two sets]”
Even though the Angels gave up five aces in opposition to their lone point from the service line, Phillips virtually doubled the HD Spikers blocks with seven, the final thwarting Meneses in the middle.
For Petro Gazz, which placed third after the single round robin elimination rounds in the league’s season-ending conference run by Sports Vision, Phillips finished with 13 points, Aiza Pontillas flashed vintage form early on and finished with 10 markers, Remy Palma and setter Djanel Cheng both contributed seven points, and Myla Pablo contributed six.
With her superb playmaking duties and shrewd scoring on crucial pushes and 1-2 plays that frequently held the HD Spikers at bay, Cheng also kept the squad together.