In a match that lasted for over five hours due to weather delay, the Petro Gazz Angels displayed composure to stave off Black Mamba-Army, 25-19, 22-25, 25-20, 25-21, in the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference, Sunday (July 18) at the PCV Socio-Civic Cultural Center in Bacarra, Ilocos Norte.
The Angels, who deployed their star-studded core for the first time, not only fought against the Jovelyn Gonzaga-led Army side, but also had to endure a three-hour lull in the second set. The cause of the stoppage was water leakage brought about by the heavy outpour.
"So ayun, given na may circumstances na nade-delay, so 'yun nga 'yung mindset naman namin whatever challenges na humarap e embrace lang namin. Ang important at [that moment] makagalaw kami nang maayos," Petro Gazz head coach Arnold Laniog said.
(Translation: "Given the circumstances where the game was delayed, our mindset was to embrace whatever challenges that come our way. The most important thing at that moment was to perform well," Petro Gazz head coach Arnold Laniog said.)
Fueled by the quartet of Grethcel Soltones, Myla Pablo, Ces Molina and Ria Meneses, the Angels unleashed a high-octane offense that razed the Black Mamba-Army defense down to the ground.
Soltones fired 18 points to lead four double-digit scorers for Petro Gazz. She also made an impact on the defensive end, netting 15 digs and 12 receptions for a triple-double line.
Pablo flaunted her offensive arsenal as well after delivering 16 markers anchored on 14 attacks. Meneses, for her part, was a tower of power for the Angels as she tallied nine of her 16 points through blocks. She single-handedly outperformed Army in the blocking department, 9-6.
Molina chimed in 15 points, while Kat Arado manned the floor with 28 digs and 21 receptions.
With the win, the Angels gained a share of early lead in the league standings with Creamline and Chery Tiggo.
Black Mamba-Army, on the other hand, fell flat in their campaign opener.
Gonzaga, who spearheaded Army's second set conquest, finished with a triple-double of 17 points, 16 digs and 14 receptions that went for naught.
Joanne Bunag managed 14 markers in the loss, while Honey Royse Tubino lagged a point behind with 13.
Ohmer Bautista is a sports journalist who has covered local and international sporting events in the Philippines. The views expressed are his own.
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