Stephanie Mercado decision bears fruit with PetroGazz
When Stephanie Mercado inked a long-term deal with PetroGazz, the former La Salle star said she wanted to gut it out with the franchise, to guide it as it sought a championship in the Premier Volleyball League.
“I want to grow with this team,” she told the Inquirer then.
And boy have the Angels—and Mercado—grown.
Mercado’s decision to commit to PetroGazz bore fruit when the Angels copped their first franchise crown, dethroning Creamline in the recent Reinforced Conference championship series.
“Every player wants to become a champion and this team experienced such a remarkable growth because we didn’t know where we would be last year,” Mercado said in Filipino during the team’s press conference on Tuesday at Kamayan along Edsa.
It wasn’t an easy trek for Mercado and the Angels. But with the zeal to improve with each passing tournament, they got the job done.
“Throughout the years, our standing has gone up and our goal really this conference was to just improve on our standing from the last conference, which is fourth, and get a podium finish.”
In the recent conference, the spotlight wasn’t much on PetroGazz early on. Creamline, after all, was the defending champion that brought back its potent core, led by star Alyssa Valdez.
But powered by Janisa Johnson and Wilma Salas, the Angels went on a blistering elimination-round run and established themselves as a team to reckon with.
PetroGazz lost just once in the double-round elimination phase—the Angels split their duels with the Cool Smashers there—and when the playoffs rolled around, the team was a favorite for the title.
PetroGazz lost the finals opener but won the next two games for the title.
Fittingly, Mercado’s contract with PetroGazz is nearing its end just as the Angels finally soared to Cloud 9.
So what’s next for the recently rewarded partnership?
“I still don’t know; it depends if PetroGazz still wants me here,” Mercado said. “But as much as possible, I don’t want to leave the team.”
Count on the feeling to be mutual for PetroGazz.
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