Oliver Almadro hopes for David and Goliath ending for Petro Gazz in PVL Finals
MANILA, Philippines—Petro Gazz coach Oliver Almadro hopes for a David and Goliath ending when the Angels shoot for their first Premier Volleyball League All-Filipino Conference crown in Game 2 against the defending champion Creamline on Tuesday at Mall of Asia Arena.
After picking the perfect time to end a 14-game skid against Creamline with a 25-22, 24-26, 25-23, 26-24 victory in Game 1 on Sunday, Almadro stressed that they have to stay prepared and work harder against the Cool Smashers, who are still missing the services of the injured Alyssa Valdez.
“It’s still even. It won’t end with just one game. We have to do better in Game 2. And we know, Creamline is a mature team, they’re an intact team. They are the Goliath of this tournament. They are the strongest, tallest, and most famous,” said Almadro in Filipino after inching a win closer to Petro Gazz’s first-ever All-Filipino title.
“We just asked the Lord that can we be the David of the tournament. [We hope to have] a strong character, the right attitude, and teamwork. It’s not yet done. So we will really work hard, sacrifice, and pray to God, and ask for strength and wisdom all the time,” he added.
The Angels displayed grace under pressure in the fourth set despite squandering a 24-21 advantage as the Cool Smashers saved three match points to tie the frame but MJ Phillips was quick to stop the bleeding to regain the match point advantage, 25-24.
During the final moments of the game, an eagle-eyed Almadro called for a video challenge in the middle of the rally, asking for a net touch. The challenge was successful as Jia De Guzman’s arm touched the net.
The new Petro Gazz coach was confident with his game-clinching challenge but he insisted to his players that they can’t rely on the video system in Game 2.
“In the end, it might happen again but we can’t rely on the challenge,” he said. “Prepare the mindset, prepare the body, and then everything follows.”
Jonah Sabete, who led the balanced attack of the Angels to give Petro Gazz its first win over Creamline since the 2019 Reinforced Conference Finals Game 3, said they have to be more committed in the crucial moments of the set.
“We lacked the commitment during the tight moments of the game. That was our lapses tonight so we have to commit to the game plan and the plays of our setter,” said Sabete in Filipino after leading the way with 18 points, 15 receptions, and 10 digs.
Grethcel Soltones, who had 14 points and 17 digs, vows to be more consistent in Game 2.
“I choked a bit in the second set. So I have to do better. My personal goal is to step up when it comes to the crucial moments of the game,” Soltones said.
Almadro is pinning his hopes on Sabete, Soltones, Aiza Maizo-Pontillas, Remy Palma, MJ Phillips, and setter Djanel Cheng as they try to dethrone Creamline.