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Petro Gazz draws first blood, nears title repeat

Games Tuesday:

(Philsports Arena)

2:30 p.m. — Creamline vs Chery Tiggo

5:30 p.m. — Petro Gazz vs Cignal


American import Lindsey Vander Weide played clutch in the exhausting extended third set to power Petro Gazz in completing a straight sets win over Cignal, 25-21, 27-25, 37-35, in Game 1 of the Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference best-of-three Finals Thursday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Vander Weide dropped a career-high 34 points including the last four points of the Angels, who moved a step closer to retaining the season-ending conference crown they claimed in 2019 before the league shelved the staging of the import-laden tournament for two years because of the pandemic.

Petro Gazz can wrap up the series on Tuesday at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City.

The Angels saved four set points in the third frame with Vander Weide knotting it at 35 to make amends for her attack that went long in the previous play. She followed it up with back-to-back kills to finally close the match that lasted almost two hours.

“Oh my gosh, that [third set] was stressful but I just knew whatever ball I got, I had to score,” the 24-year-old Vander Weide said.

“I really hurt my feelings when I hit that ball out but I knew we were gonna bounce back because that’s what we were doing every single point. So I was really confident the whole time even though it was a scary situation.”

Petro Gazz’s  win came two nights after it beat Cignal in four sets at the close of the round robin semifinals, in a result that almost cost the Rald Ricafort-mentored squad’s hopes of making it to the Finals.

“I guess we’ve learned our lesson in our last game against Cignal when we allowed them to take the third set. We didn’t let complacency get the best of us this time,” he said.

“I told them that we must not give Cignal a chance to recover.”

Vander Weide hammered 31 kills off 53 attempts and had eight digs and five excellent receptions for the Angels. Myla Pablo and Aiza Maizo-Pontillas added 10 markers each for Petro Gazz.

The HD Spikers saved eight match points with Roselyn Doria forcing a deuce at 33 before Ces Molina put Cignal at set point, 34-33.

American Tai Bierria was the only Cignal player in double figures with 18 points with all but one coming off attacks while Molina and Doria got nine and eight markers, respectively.



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