Jockeying for crucial positioning, Petro Gazz and Sta. Lucia sent their respective foes packing to stay in contention of semifinal slots in the 2021 Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Open Conference on Tuesday (August 3).
Petro Gazz fueled its bid after eliminating the BaliPure Water Defenders with a 25-20, 26-24, 25-23 sweep at the PCV Socio-Civic and Cultural Center in Bacarra, Ilocos Norte.
The win allowed the Angels to rise to a 5-2 record for a tie in third place with idle Chery Tiggo. It was also a perfect bounce-back result from their previous loss at the hands of the Crossovers.
Gretchel Soltones spearheaded Petro Gazz's attack with 14 points and 10 digs, while Ria Meneses chimed in eight markers, half of which coming from blocks.
Myla Pablo and Jerrili Malabanan also shouldered some of the offensive load with seven points each for the Angels, who shuffled its rotation by fielding all but Remy Palma in the match.
"['Yung] first six talaga medyo napapansin ng coaches pagod na rin talaga 'yung katawan din kasi nga ibang games namin sunud-sunod din. So, kailangan talaga gamitin mga second [stringers] namin para mag step up din sa loob ng court," Pablo said. "I'm really happy talaga kasi 'yung mga second stringers namin nag step up din."
(Translation: Our first six, as noticed by our coaches, are already fatigued because of the consecutive games. So, we really needed to deploy our second stringers on the court. I'm really happy that they really stepped up.)
Nine players logged in a point for Petro Gazz, which also pounced on a wasteful BaliPure.
The Water Defenders, who edged out the Angels in attacks (38-31) and blocks (10-8), surrendered a dismal 28 errors in three sets, costing them the match and the season as they were eliminated with a 2-5 win-loss card.
Graze Bombita once again saw her game-high output go down the drain as she finished with 18 points in the loss.
Meanwhile, Sta. Lucia rode the crest of its winning streak to knock the Perlas Spikers out of the semifinals race with a rousing 25-13, 25-18, 25-16 sweep.
The Lady Realtors cruised to their fourth consecutive victory to come a game behind Petro Gazz with a 5-3 slate.
MJ Phillips shone in the straight-set triumph as she delivered 16 points built on 13 attacks, two blocks, and an ace, to go along with 16 digs.
Jovie Prado complimented Phillips with 10 points and eight receptions, while Mika Reyes and Jonah Sabete supplemented nine points apiece.
“Siguro kung ano ‘yung straight wins namin, masasabi natin na pinaghirapan ng bawat isa ‘yun. Talagang ‘yung dedication, ‘yung motivation, ‘yung focus, lahat ‘yun,” said Sta. Lucia head coach Eddieson Orcullo.
(Our straight wins are made possible by the hard work of each member. It came from our dedication, motivation and focus.)
The Lady Realtors barely faced resistance all throughout the match as they waxed hot in attacks with a 38-31 disparity, dominated in blocks with an 8-2 difference, and rained down in service aces with an 8-1 edge over Perlas, which suffered its fifth loss in sixth outings to bid its semis hopes farewell.
No Perlas Spiker breached double-figures in the loss as Jho Maraguinot and Sue Rocess finished with eight points each.
Ohmer Bautista is a sports journalist who has covered local and international sporting events in the Philippines. The views expressed are his own.