Petro Gazz showed nerves of steel to outlast Cignal in three tight sets, 25-21, 27-25, 37-35, to move on the verge of the 2022 Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference championship at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Thursday.
A see-saw marathon third period saw the HD Spikers at set point, 34-33, then Lindsey Vander Weide happened.
She first went down-the-line before committing an attack error to give Cignal the lead anew. However, Vander Weide more than made up for it with three straight kills to finish the 45-minute set, 37-35.
“Siguro yung lesson lang sa amin nung isang araw against Cignal, nabitawan namin ‘yung third set doon. Mawala ‘yung complacency na kapag nakadalawang set na kami, may chance na mag-off nang kaunti,” said Angels head coach Rald Ricafort.
Vander Weide dominated late as well in the first set to put Petro Gazz on the front seat, 25-21.
Cignal was the first to reach set point in the second frame after Remy Palma was called for a net touch on a challenge, 25-24. But Ria Meneses returned the favor with a service error, before Vander Weide and MJ Phillips’ back-to-back blocks gave the Angels a commanding 2-0 lead.
Vander Weide finished with a huge 34 points on 31 attacks, two blocks, and a service ace alongside eight digs and five excellent receptions.
“That was stressful. But I just knew whatever ball I got, I had to score,” said Vander Weide on the long third set.
Myla Pablo and Aiza Maizo-Pontillas backstopped the American reinforcement with 10 points apiece in the match that lasted 1 hour and 48 minutes.
Tai Bierria was the only HD Spiker in double digits with 18 points. Meanwhile, Ces Molina and Rose Doria added nine and eight points, respectively.
Glaudine Troncoso, Angeli Araneta, and Ria Meneses also all got seven points each in the losing effort.
The Angels will go for the crown on Tuesday, 5:30 PM, at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City.
Petro Gazz looks to successfully defend its Reinforced Conference title back in 2019. It did not take place in 2020 due to the pandemic; meanwhile, in the 2021 season, only the Open Conference occurred.