MANILA, Philippines – It is no secret that PetroGazz is anchored by its pair of powerful imports, Wilma Salas and Janisa Johnson.
The two prolific imports towed the Angels to the top seed and into the finals of the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Reinforced Conference, putting up sensational performances along the way. Salas finished the elimination round with 212 points while converting 47% of her attacks; and Johnson finished with 183 points and a 46.22% efficiency in spikes.
In Game 1 of their best-of-3 finals series against the Creamline Cool Smashers, however, both Salas and Johnson played below their standards.
"They did their homework, they did good," conceded Johnson after the game, which saw the Angels lose in four sets to the defending champions.
Johnson still scored 20 points, and Salas added 18. But they were far from efficient: Johnson converted just 17 of 52 attacks, and Salas was only 15-of-49.
"Of course, you know, they have to study hard because it's the finals, and they did good," said Johnson.
Reception was a problem for the Angels, particularly in the second and third sets which Creamline won comfortably. And with the Angels fumbling for good passes, they were unable to maximize the presence of their powerful imports when they were at the frontline.
"Sabi ko na, it's a service-receive game," noted PetroGazz coach Arnold Laniog. "Sila No. 1 sa serve, kami No. 1 sa pasa. Eh hindi gumana kanina. So, bantay-sarado na talaga, nakatutok talaga."
Soon enough, the imports became all too eager and started committing attack errors, said Laniog.
"And given 'yung both imports, lalo na 'yung isa, si Wilma, talagang nang-gigil na. 'Pag ganoong nang-gigil na, wala na. Hindi mo na control," he lamented. "Sabi nga nila, don't let your emotions power your intelligence. Talagang wala. Kaya sabi ko, cool ka lang."
But both imports are determined to make up for their subpar play when Game 2 rolls around on Saturday.
"Based naman sa talk nila kanina, I think babawi naman 'yung dalawa," said Laniog.
Indeed, Johnson said their loss in Game 1 is a lesson for them, and they are determined to prepare harder for Saturday's Game 2 in a bid to extend the series.
"Now that we know how they study us, we have to study them, and you know, be more prepared. So this game is good for us because now we know what they're gonna do. So these next two days are really important for us," said the American import.
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