MANILA, Philippines – The PetroGazz Angels are not sweating their setback to BanKo-Perlas in the third set of their second-round game on Wednesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Entering the match, PetroGazz had won their first five matches via sweeps. Imports Wilma Salas and Janisa Johnson were unstoppable and they were getting plenty of contributions from their local crew as well, led by middle blocker Jeanette Panaga.
PetroGazz appeared headed for another straight-sets victory in the PVL Reinforced Conference as they surged to a 2-0 lead over the Perlas Spikers. The second set was a clinic; the Angels won 25-11 as BanKo-Perlas had no answer for Salas all throughout the frame.
But BanKo, playing with an all-Filipino line-up, roared back in the third set. With Nicole Tiamzon and Dzi Gervacio swinging away, they claimed a 10-4 lead then fended off PetroGazz's fightback in the end game.
The Perlas Spikers took the set, 25-22, handing the Angels their first set loss of the tournament.
"I mean, we made a lot of errors, and you can see, we just got out of our heads for a second," said Johnson after the game. "And we tried to bring it back, and we did, thankfully, but we lost a set because of it."
For PetroGazz head coach Arnold Laniog, losing the third set worked in their favor.
"Good thing pa nga 'yung nangyari, awakening sa amin," he pointed out. "Talagang no time talaga to relax."
Laniog readily admitted that some complacency had brewed in his squad after they zoomed through the first round of the conference.
"So better din na natalo kami ng set kanina para ma-realize namin, ma-realize ng mga players na hindi ganoon basta-basta. Dahil anytime mag-relax ka diyan, pwede ka masilat ng kung sino-sino," he explained.
The Angels responded well to dropping the third set. Though BanKo-Perlas stayed in step with them in the early goings of Set 4, eventually PetroGazz simply had too much firepower. Salas came alive after the second technical timeout to tow the Angels to victory after an hour and 45 minutes.
The 25-23, 25-11, 22-25, 25-20 triumph assured PetroGazz of at least a playoff for a spot in the semifinals.
"Panalo, good for us," said Laniog.
"At the end, a win is a win," said Johnson, for her part. "No matter what, I'm proud."
They will take the lessons from the third-set loss, said Laniog, and use it to keep improving.
"Sa side namin, meron pa rin kaming kailangan i-improve, trabahuhin. But good thing din, naka-invest na kami ng first round at saka first game namin ng second round," said the coach.
"But good thing nga, 'pag nakukuha namin ang panalo, may statement kami sa kalaban," he added.
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