MANILA, Philippines -- A controversial call to end Game 1 of the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Reinforced Conference finals should only motivate the PetroGazz Angels when the series continues on Saturday.
This is what the Creamline Cool Smashers are bracing for, after they wrapped up a 24-26, 25-16, 25-16, 25-22 triumph in Game 1 on Wednesday that moved them to the brink of a second straight Reinforced Conference title.
An overreaching violation called on Cherry Nunag in the final rally wrapped up the match, and the Angels' protests about the call were rebuffed by the first referee.
Creamline captain Alyssa Valdez called it a judgment call, even as she acknowledged that her opinion is "biased."
"Nasa amin talaga 'yung bola eh," she noted. "Kapag overreaching, hindi kami hinayaan maituloy 'yung play namin sa kabilang side so naabot nila and tinawagan ng overreach but it was a judgment call."
However, Valdez did acknowledge that the call might serve as bulletin board material for the Angels ahead of Game 2.
"For sure, PetroGazz has that motivation again to go back, the eagerness to win," she said. "Siyempre, ayaw nila matalo sa mga ganyan. So we're going to prepare for it."
They got a preview of how a fired-up PetroGazz team played like in the fourth set, when the Angels raced to an 8-3 lead on the strength of Wilma Salas' attacks. The Cool Smashers recovered, but nearly squandered a late lead when Salas teamed up with Janisa Johnson late in the frame to spark the Angels' rally.
"Kitang-kita sa latter part of the set, very eager talaga sila, nandoon passion nila, nandoon yung heart nila," said Valdez.
"For sure, dadalhin nila 'yun sa next game," she added.
Valdez is hopeful that the Cool Smashers can match the intensity that PetroGazz is sure to bring.
"(We're) thinking of the worst, but also thinking of the best. What's best for our game (is) winning the next game. Focus on the next game. Kung may mangyari Game 3, at saka doon iisipin," said Valdez.
"Pero ngayon, all mind, lahat siguro ng preparation, paghahandaan namin sa Game 2 muna."
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