November 19, 2022

Petro Gazz rolls into semis, grounds Army

Petro Gazz moved into the semifinal round of the Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference in near-effortless fashion after going through a pair of wringers that produced contrasting results, gunning down UAI-Army, 25-13, 25-12, 25-19, in a rainy weekend at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Save for the Lady Troopers’ brief resistance midway in the third set, it was all Angels show throughout as the 2019 champions overpowered the former with their crisp hits, superb blocking and superior all-around game.

“We enjoyed every point we scored and stayed focused on our goal,” said Aiza Pontillas, whose 12-point outing, laced by 10 attacks, helped anchor the Angels’ one-hour, 22-minute romp that netted them the all-important fifth win against two losses.

“It’s our objective (to win) regardless of who our opponents are since we want to build momentum going to the semis. It’s a good thing, we got it in three (sets),” said Petro Gazz coach Rald Ricafort.

Petro Gazz thus joined Creamline and Chery Tiggo in post-elims play of the season-ending conference of the league organized by Sports Vision with the last Final Four slot a toss-up between Cignal and F2 Logistics, which were slugging it out in a key duel at presstime.

Still, the result won’t decide which team would advance but the finals elims playdate on Tuesday where Cignal battles Choco Mucho and F2 Logistics faces Petro Gazz.

Army, meanwhile, ended its elims campaign in the nine-team field the way it started it – on a losing note.

With a 3-4 slate, the Flying Titans still hope to crash into the semis via backdoor although their chances hinge on the outcome of the other matches while needing to sweep the HD Spikers to boost their bid when it boils down to points system for No. 4.

Petro Gazz made sure it won’t go through that route to advance, dominating Army as its hitters found the spots early on, leading to a pair of lopsided wins. The Lady Troopers kept it close in the third, 5-all, and 11-13 on a Mary Anne Esguerra hit but the Angels took the next three points, capped by back-to-back blocks on their way to victory spiked by a Myla Pablo blast against former teammate Ivy Perez.

Lindsey Vander Weide hammered out 14 kills and finished with 20 points while MJ Phillips added 10 hits and Pablo and Remy Palma combined for 17 markers as the Angels produced 42 attack points, 17 more than the Lady Troopers.

“I told the team that I want to feel good going to our F2 match and I think we did that in this game,” said Vander Weide. “So it feels good. We have F2 as our last game. Obviously, we gonna win that and go strong into the semifinals.”

With Vander Weide also coming through with four blocks and Palma adding three, Petro Gazz finished with 15 against Army’s measly three block points.

Import Laura Condotta scored 12 points but coach Kungfu Reyes failed to draw any other double-digit output from the rest with Jovelyn Gonzaga ending up with five points and Nene Bautista and Jeanette Villareal scoring four points apiece.