Petro Gazz head coach Rald Ricafort turned emotional following a roller coaster day that saw them return to the 2022 Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference finals – all thanks to the five-set affair between Creamline and Chery Tiggo, Tuesday night.
The Angels needed a straight-sets win over Cignal to secure their spot in the finals. They were even on their way to a sweep after taking the first two frames.
Then come the third frame, they were up 24-21.
Unfortunately, Petro Gazz failed to close out the game. The Tai Bierria-led HD Spikers stole the third frame, before surrendering the game to the Angels in the fourth set.
Petro Gazz came out with a four-set, 25-14, 25-21, 25-27, 25-19 win over Cignal – who bagged the first finals slot after taking the third set. However, it was not enough to earn them a direct ticket to the finale.
For the Angels to earn a spot in the gold medal match, Creamline must lose to Chery Tiggo in their finals match.
The Cool Smashers were the undisputed top squad of the tournament, even with their disappointing loss to Cignal.
“Nung nag-start ng game, siyempre pinag-base namin yung game namin with Chery kasi medyo off sila nun. Pero nung nakita namin nung third set… Ngayon lang ako nagkaroon ng liga na per point nalaban ng ibang games. Crucial, ganun,” said Ricafort, who stayed in the scouting room right after their match to watch the Cool Smashers-HD Spikers clash.
After almost an hour and 30 minutes of waiting, Ricafort finally heaved a sigh of relief. Chery Tiggo took a surprising 2-1 lead over Creamline – officially booting the Rebisco-backed squad out of finals contention.
“Nakakaiyak [na] hindi mo naman hawak pero… Pero yun nga, sabi ko naman sa kanila kanina kung naka-base kami sa iba, dasal na lang talaga. Yun na lang yung magagawa namin e,” said the first year head coach.
Ricafort said that they will make sure to make the most out of their second finals appearance of the season, especially now that they have a chance to give birth to a new rivalry with the HD Spikers.
“Ganun din yung feeling nila sa amin ng elims e kami naman yung gigil na gigil sila kalaro. Masaya na may bagong rivalry lumalabas yung laro namin pareho sa mga games namin sana mamaximize ulit namin kung ano yung ginawa namin kanina,” said Ricafort. “Mahaba pa ‘to – three games pa to. Sana kung ano man yung napakita namin kanina.”
The best-of-three finals series begins on Thursday at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
“So, ime-make sure na lang namin na sulit tong Finals na ito dahil binigay ng ganitong way,” he added.