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Tiebreaker Times


Rald Ricafort understands challenge system will take time to adjust to

The Premier Volleyball League’s newest challenge system was the talk of the town on Saturday night – albeit for the wrong reasons.

Controversy marred the match between Petro Gazz and PLDT after a crucial challenge call by High Speed Hitters head coach George Pascua late in the fourth set – which was ruled unsuccessful – caused an almost 30-minute delay to the game.

Pascua called for a challenge, which took officials a few moments to recognize, with PLDT a point away from sending the game to a fifth set, 24-23, after seeing a Petro Gazz player touch the net during a block attempt on High Speed Hitters import Elena Savkina-Samoilenko.

The challenge system, however, showed a different play which caused a dispute between the PLDT head coach and league officials.

Eventually, the point was awarded to Petro Gazz as Pascua called the challenge mid-rally. League rules state that an unsuccessful challenge by a team in the middle of a play would cost a point against the said side and vice versa.

The Angels ran away with a four-set 19-25, 25-21, 25-20, 27-25 victory but the High Speed Hitters put the game under protest by not signing the scoresheet and sending a letter to tournament director Tony Boy Liao after the match.

For his part, Petro Gazz head coach Rald Ricafort said that he understands that everyone – from the coaching staff, players, and league officials – is still adjusting to the new challenge system.

He even said that the Angels, too, experienced the same thing but decided to let things go.PVL-Reinforced-2022-PLDT-vs.-Petrogazz-Rald-Ricafort-George-Pascua-1701 Rald Ricafort understands challenge system will take time to adjust to News PVL Volleyball  - philippine sports news

“Given naman yun na bago lang yung challenge system, marami pang kailangan iimprove. Nagkaroon din naman kami ng challenge na inconclusive. ‘Di raw nila nakita or nakita nila pero ‘di nila kayang i-broadcast sa TV. Samin, okay lang samin kasi wala naman nang magagawa,” said Ricafort after the game.

“Sa pagkakaintindi ko, mali yung video na lumabas sa chinachallenge ni PLDT. Pero kasi, inexplain nila na nakita raw nila, ang pino-point out kasi namin doon once na nag-challenge ka mid-rally at mali yung chinallenge mo mid-rally, ‘di siya pwedeng dead ball lang. Iaaward dapat samin (yung point),” he continued.

Ricafort, though, did not hide the fact that he was disappointed with how some of the things went down during that long pause.PVL-Reinforced-2022-PLDT-vs.-Petrogazz-George-Pascua-1674 Rald Ricafort understands challenge system will take time to adjust to News PVL Volleyball  - philippine sports news

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“Wala namang problema. Siguro, umabot nga lang sa point na pinalapit na si coach George (Pascua) sa challenge system na ‘di ko alam kung proper ba yun dahil dapat wala namang nakakalapit doon e kasi baka magkaroon ng influence sa mga sinasabi niya,” the UP men’s volleyball head coach expressed.

“Mas okay siguro kung mas mabilis naayos para hindi na umabot sa ganung point.”

Despite the unceremonious end, Ricafort said that he was very proud of how his team played despite their slow start. Moreover, he tipped his hat to the High Speed Hitters – especially their middle blockers – for a job well done.

He also hopes that this incident may serve as a learning experience for everyone moving forward.

“Sluggish kami nung start. Sluggish, ‘di ko alam kung stiff ba o what. Pero nag-adjust din naman si PLDT, hats off din sa import talaga nila mataas talaga yung abot and at the same time gumana yung middles nila na gusto sana naming na-stop nang maaga so nakuha naman.”

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