ILOILO CITY — Aiza Maizo-Pontillas came out victorious in her homecoming as Petro Gazz eliminated Chery Tiggo in the 2023 Premier Volleyball League All-Filipino Conference, 25-21, 28-26, 25-21 in front of a massive crowd at the University of San Agustin Gymnasium here, Tuesday
Maizo-Pontillas, who hails from Passi, Iloilo, scored all of her 13 points from the attack line to help the Angels clinch at least the second seed in the semifinals with a 6-2 win-loss record.
Grethcel Soltones top scored for Petro Gazz with 14 points on 10 attacks, three aces, and a block to go along with nine excellent digs while middle blockers Remy Palma and MJ Phillips added 12 and 10 points, respectively, in an hour and 43 minutes of action.
“Well, siyempre it’s really hard going out of town and then with an important match. Important match ‘to para sa amin, para sa Chery Tiggo. So it’s really, nakita niyo naman ‘yung first set, talagang isahan talaga,” said Angels head coach Oliver Almadro.
“Yun talaga mararamdaman mo na both teams really need win this win. But we’re happy. We’re happy to be an instrument to showcase their talent. Sabi ko nga sa kanila, give their heart, give their soul, give their strength here, because ‘yan ang instrument,” he added.
Trailing by two, 12-14, in the first set, five Petro Gazz players connived for a crucial 6-0 blast that allowed them to take an 18-14 advantage. The Angels ran away from there as Palma and Soltones nailed the differential hits to put their side ahead early in the all-important match.
Petro Gazz then raced to a 24-17 advantage capped off by a Soltones off-speed hit before committing consecutive errors that allowed the Crossovers to save seven set points to tie the game at 24-all. Mylene Paat tried to keep her team afloat but Maizo-Pontillas and Jonah Sabete came to the rescue for the Angels as they took a commanding 2-0 lead.
The Angels led by as much as seven points in the fourth, 21-14, before Cza Carandang kick-started a four-to-nothing blast with an off-the-block hit to slice the lead to just three.
Chery Tiggo got close to within two, 20-22, after a net violation on Palma which was followed by an off-the-block attack by Shaya Adorador. Unfortunately, that proved to be it as Maizo-Pontillas and Phillips finished off the match.
Carandang and Paat spearheaded Chery Tiggo with 16 and 15 points, respectively, as the Crossovets bowed out of the semis race after ending the elims with a 4-4 card. PLDT will take the last spot in the semis.
The PVL semifinals will begin on March 18, Saturday at the Philsports Arena.