Surviving a momentary loss of focus in the third set on Thursday, Petro Gazz went on to bamboozle Akari, 25-15, 25-19, 22-25, 25-16, to grab the second semifinal seat in the Premier Volleyball League All-Filipino Conference at PhilSports Arena in Pasig City.
And with their first goal of making it past the playoffs over and done with, the work continues for coach Oliver Almadro and his game Angels, who are looking to nail down another target within the next couple of weeks.
“As we said before, we will work hard to reach the first realistic goal,” Almadro said, referring to their semifinals entry. “And if the Lord will give us the opportunity to be in the finals, then we will be happy.”
Almadro had said that he is a very happy camper after the Angels have responded to his guidance ever since he took over in January, and making the playoffs assures that Petro Gazz has a chance to contend for another title after winning the Reinforced Conference with Lindsay Vander Weide.
Held to a six-point output last game, Gretchel Soltones bounced back with aplomb, scoring 20 points built on 16 kills as she spearheaded a balanced scoring.
Aiza Pontillas added 15 points, Remy Palma scored 13 and Jonah Sabete and MJ Phillips put in 11 and 10 points, respectively for the Angels, who lost top scorer Myla Pablo in the offseason but has used defense as a trump card here, emerging as the best blocking team in the conference.
As things stand, Creamline was the first to book a semifinals berth with F2, PLDT, Chery Tiggo and Choco Mucho still in the hunt. The Crossovers were still battling the crowd-darling Flying Titans at press time.
The Cargo Movers have the inside track on the third berth, being currently tied with the Angels at 5-2. Petro Gazz advanced by virtue of a superior set ratio compared to F2’s.
Akari bowed out in a memorable way, so to speak, as the Chargers used an 8-3 start to the third set to avoid being swept.
The fourth, though, saw the Angels back in their elements with MJ Phillips leading the charge.
Akari, already out of semifinal contention prior to this game, dropped to a 2-5 record.
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