ILOCOS NORTE—Facing a team that buckled under the weight of its absent stars, Petro Gazz ripped Choco Mucho, 25-20, 25-18, 25-21, to clinch third place honors in the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Open Conference at the PCV Socio Civic and Cultural Center in Bacarra here yesterday.
Myla Pablo, easily the biggest star in the depleted field, fueled Petro Gazz in the match, scoring 14 of her 16 points on attack and getting just the right amount of support from Gretchel Soltones (seven points), Seth Rodriguez (six) and Ces Molina (five) to powder an opponent missing three key players.
“It’s all worth the sacrifices and hard work of the players and as a team—from our bubble training then in the one month that we’ve been here. It’s a different kind of challenge—mentally and emotionally,” said Petro Gazz coach Arnold Laniog.
In hammering out the sweep, the Angels capitalized on the absence of Maddie Madayag, who injured her knee in Game 1. Choco Mucho coach Oliver Almadro also opted to bench top hitter Kat Tolentino and middle blocker Bea de Leon. He fielded his other two starters, spiker Ponggay Gaston and setter Deanna Wong, late in the third as the Angels were manicuring their bronze medal effort in the inaugural professional tournament.
Without its stars, Choco Mucho went to Caitlyn Viray, Necole Ebuen, May Angustia, Shannel Palec and Kim Gequillana, who combined for 33 points—and effort that went for naught for the Flying Titans, as the Angels completed 41 attack points, five block points and five aces. Choco Mucho had 32 spikes, four blocks and one ace.
With the match practically wrapped up, Laniog dipped into his bench, trying out a combination of Ivy Perez, Jessey de Leon, Remy Palma, Mary Anne Mendrez, Jerrill Malabanan and Relea Saet that managed to ice the match with 15 points.
Ria Meneses, the league’s top blocker in the preliminaries, saw action only in the first two sets and finished with two points.