MANILA, Philippines— (UPDATED) PetroGazz dropped a set for the first time in the tournament, but did enough to claim a 4-set win over BanKo-Perlas in the 2019 Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Reinforced Conference on Wednesday at FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
The Angels secured a 25-23, 25-11, 22-25, 25-20 triumph, assuring themselves of at least a playoff for a spot in the semifinals.
PetroGazz also remained unbeaten in the tournament, with a 6-0 win-loss record.
"One game at a time lang din," said PetroGazz coach Arnold Laniog. "Ang focus lang naman talaga namin every game is mag-improve."
Wilma Salas was unstoppable, scoring 37 points on 35 kills while skipper Janisa Johnson added 24 points with all but one coming off attacks. The Angels uncorked a whopping 70 attack points in the game.
But they were given all they could handle by the Perlas Spikers, who played for most of the game without their imports, Kia Bright and Yasemin Yildirim. A source said it was the decision of coach Apichat Kongsawat not to start the reinforcements, with Bright dealing with a knee injury while Yildirim was recovering from the flu.
Even without them, the Perlas Spikers nearly stole the opening frame. They led 15-9 midway through before Salas and Johnson sparked their comeback. BanKo last led at 22-21, off a Nicole Tiamzon hit.
Salas responded with 3 straight hits, pouncing on poor first balls by BanKo for easy kills. A 1-2 play by setter Jem Ferrer kept BanKo alive, but she also committed a service error that gifted the final point to the Angels.
With Salas leading the way, the Angels thoroughly dominated the second frame, leading 21-8 en route to a quick win.
The third set was completely different, however. BanKo surged to a 10-2 lead, and were still up 15-5 thanks to a series of attacks by Tiamzon. Salas again led the way for PetroGazz to work their way back, anchoring a 5-0 run that made it 18-13.
A kill by Johnson followed by back-to-back hits by Salas made it a two-point game, 20-22, but Tiamzon responded with a crosscourt hit to put her team up by 3 points. Salas uncorked a crosscourt kill of her own, but she was blocked emphatically by Kathy Bersola in the next rally, putting BanKo at set point, 24-21.
Salas scored off the BanKo blockers to save a point for PetroGazz, but setter Djanel Cheng sent her serve to the net to give the Perlas Spikers the win — the first time all tournament that the Angels dropped a set.
"Parang nagiging complacent na minsan, so better din na natalo kami ng se kanina," said Laniog. "Para din ma-realize ng players na hindi ganoon basta-basta."
PetroGazz recovered in the fourth frame, pulling away after the second technical timeout to take control of the contest.
Tiamzon scored 20 points, while Dzi Gervacio had 13 for BanKo-Perlas. Bright, playing in limited minutes, had one point while Yildirim had 3 points. The Perlas Spikers got 26 points off PetroGazz's errors, but still could not hand the Angels their first loss of the tournament.
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