They started on the wrong foot, but they recovered with poise.
The Petro Gazz Angels, champions of the 2022 PVL Reinforced Conference, are eager to show they are legitimate contenders in the All-Filipino Conference.
In Game 1 of their semifinals matchup against the PLDT High Speed Hitters, the Oliver Almadro-mentored squad dropped the first set, but turned it up to get the 22-25, 25-19, 25-21, 25-18 victory.
“I cannot say it’s dominate,” says Almadro, talking about their resounding win. “Ang galing din talaga ng PLDT. They are really a great team. But great teams will just push us forward.”
Despite the aptitude of PLDT, the volleybelles of Petro Gazz didn’t need to look elsewhere to find the motivation they need to take the series opener.
“’Yung number one namin na kinakapitan, ‘yung kagustuhan ng bawat isa na makapasok sa finals,” said Jonah Sabete, who led the team with 18 points off 14 attacks.
But it wasn’t only PLDT standing in the way of Sabete and the Angels, as fatigue was also setting in for the squad that traveled to Iloilo and back to Manila in this same week.
Sabete experienced cramps during the game, but she shook it off—just like a true champion.
"Laban pa rin," she said. “Hindi na bago sa akin ‘yung cramps kasi nangyayari talaga [sa] bawat players. Hindi lang din naman ako.”
“Siyempre, kung nasasaktan ka, kailangan mo i-push pa rin sarili mo, labanan mo pa rin sarili mo.”
Heading into a crucial Game 2, Coach O is placing more attention to his team’s health.
“Sometimes it’s not about physical only,” Almadro said. “Now, we have to relax ourselves, relax our body. Kung pwepwede, ‘yun bang i-taper namin ‘yung energy.”
Petro Gazz will look to close the series and send PLDT home on Tuesday, 4:00 p.m. at the MOA Arena.
(With reports from Jamie Velasco, One Sports Digital)