Petro Gazz sent a strong message to the rest of the field of its serious intention to keep its hold of the title.
American Lindsey Vander Weide got huge support from the locals led by Jonah Sabete as the Angels hacked a 27-25, 25-22, 28-26, statement win over crowd-drawer Choco Mucho in the Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City on Tuesday.
Vander Weide scattered 25 points for Petro Gazz, which waited three long years for the chance to defend the crown it won over Creamline back in 2019 before the import-laden tournament was shelved for two years due to the pandemic.
“It feels great, especially to do it in three [sets]. You never know how your team is gonna play until you play in an actual, real game. And I loved what we did today,” Vander Weide, who hammered 20 points with three kill blocks and two aces, said.
“That’s just the first of the rest of the conference, so I’m really confident in how we played today,” she added.
But it was Sabete, who was one of the four remaining holdovers from the championship core along with Djanel Cheng, Chie Saet and Cienne Cruz, who stepped up big time at crunch time for the Angels.
Sabete pushed Petro Gazz at match point twice with her off the block smash giving the Angels a 25-24 advantage.
Vander Weide sent her attack straight to the net in the next play before MJ Phillips scored on a kill block against Flying Titans import Uzbek-Azerbaijani hitter Odina Aliyeva.
Maika Ortiz saved a match point on a running attack for a 26-26 deuce before Choco Mucho eventually yielded the game after Aliyeva committed back-to-back miscues on the service line followed by an attack error.
Sabete filled the stats box with 14 points anchored on 12 kills and provided stability on floor defense with 14 digs and 11 excellent receptions for the Angels, who plated catchup in all sets.
Phillips and Myla Pablo added eight markers for Petro Gazz, which will face Creamline in an early Finals rematch next week.
Aliyeva paced Choco Mucho with 26 points in a 25-of-58 attacking clip while Desiree Cheng had 10 markers, 10 digs and 13 receptions.