Refusing to come out of the tournament bubble empty-handed, Petro Gazz made short work of an embattled Choco Mucho side, 25-20, 25-18, 25-21, to salvage bronze in the 2021 Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Open Conference at the PCV Socio-Civic and Cultural Center on Thursday (August 12).
Myla Pablo took charge and emerged as the lone double-digit scorer of the match with 16 points built on 14 attacks and two service aces as the Angels soared to the podium at the expense of the Flying Titans.
"Worth it lahat ng sakripisyo and 'yung mga paghihirap ng mga players or as a team doon sa bubble training namin going here tapos 'yung one month talaga na nandito kami iba 'yung experience talaga, emotionally macha-challenge ka [at] mentally," said Petro Gazz head coach Arnold Laniog.
(Translation: All the sacrifices are worth it and it rings true even with all the struggles we faced in our bubble training going here. Also, the one month we've had here, the experience was different, we were challenged emotionally and mentally.)
Choco Mucho, which suffered a decisive blow in Game One after losing team captain Maddie Madayag to a left knee injury, opted to rest its star-studded core of Kat Tolentino, Bea de Leon and Denden Lazaro-Revilla in Game Two where Petro Gazz pounced and wrested control all throughout the match.
Still, the Angels faced resistance in the third set as the second stringers of the Flying Titans stood their ground, even threatening to snatch a set in the third.
Clinging onto a slim 23-20 edge, Jerrili Malabanan nailed a much-needed hit that put Petro Gazz at match point. Arianna Angustia tried to keep Choco Mucho alive with a hit of her own but that proved to be their last hurrah as Pablo slammed the door shut in the ensuing sequence to clinch bronze.
Grethcel Soltones was also instrumental in the victory with seven points and 12 receptions. Veteran playmaker Chie Saet generated the offense with 15 excellent sets, to go along with 11 digs, while Kat Arado patrolled the floor with 12 digs and 11 receptions.
Choco Mucho, on the other hand, had no one in double-digit territory as Caitlyn Viray managed nine points in the loss.
Ohmer Bautista is a sports journalist who has covered local and international sporting events in the Philippines. The views expressed are his own.