It was a critical moment in Game One of the 2023 Premier Volleyball League All-Filipino Conference finals between the Petro Gazz Angels and the Creamline Cool Smashers.
Tots Carlos hit a powerful cross-court attack that sparked a 3-0 run, capped off by back-to-back hits from Jema Galanza, tying the game at 24-all before MJ Phillips made a quick attack, putting the Angels ahead again. But the Cool Smashers did not give up easily.
Grethcel Soltones attempted to end the match with an attack, but was blocked by Jia De Guzman and Celine Domingo. In the heat of the moment, Petro Gazz head coach Oliver Almadro immediately called for a net touch challenge mid-rally, which was successful as De Guzman was penalized for a net violation, ending the match.
“I called it right away, the challenge, because nothing will be lost and I just trusted the Lord that it was really a net touch. That was the vision, I knew my players worked hard for that attack and I would not allow those points to be wasted because they earned it,” said Almadro after the win.
While Almadro was happy with the win, he recognized that the same situation might happen again in the future, which is why he hopes that his team will not rely on the challenge system to win next time.
“We will read that situation, and in the end, we know that it might happen again and we shouldn't rely on the challenge. It’s a break, and the Lord gave us that point,” he added.
The win was a significant milestone for the Petro Gazz Angels, who have been seeking their first-ever victory against the Cool Smashers for almost four years. With this momentum on their side, the Angels will try to carry this energy into Game Two and to cap their All-Filipino Conference quest.