MANILA, Philippines—Petro Gazz took a step closer to sweeping the Group B eliminations, holding sway in the third set then pouncing on PLDT’s meltdown in the next for a 25-22, 19-25, 25-22, 25-18 win Monday in the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference at the Paco Arena in Manila.
The Angels also came out a bit better than the High Speed Hitters in an error-filled, one-hour, 58-minute duel, finishing with just two slips less than their rivals after they combined for 70 miscues.
“It was an ugly win,” rued Petro Gazz coach Jerry Yee. “But it’s nice to win in that fashion.”
Later in the day, powerhouse Creamline kept its perfect run as it smothered BaliPure, 25-12, 25-21, 25-16, to match Petro Gazz’s 2-0 slate in their side of the single round prelims.
Ace playmaker Jia Morado-De Guzman produced a 14-excellent set performance to anchor the Cool Smashers’ romp and clinch the best player of the game honors. But the rest of the star-studded roster put in their share to remain the only squad in the nine-team field that has yet to drop a set.
Creamline, which also trounced PLDT, 25-16, 25-18, 25-22, on Thursday, disputes the No. 1 spot with Petro Gazz on Wednesday at 6 p.m.
Both teams have assured themselves of twice-to-beat edges in the knockout stage.
All four teams in the group, however, will all advance to the quarters which will include the top four teams in Group A.
Winners will advance to the best-of-three semis with the victors to dispute the crown, also in a best-of-three affair.
Petro Gazz and PLDT actually fought it out in spurts and close all throughout with the Angels scoring 44 attack points, just one better than the High Speed Hitters. The Angels also produced seven blocks and aces against their rivals’ five in both departments.
But the Angels proved steadier in the last two frames, squeezing out a tough win in the third frame and then breaking away from a 15-13 count in the fourth behind a closing 10-5 binge aided by the High Speed Hitters’ miscues.
Nicole Tiamzon led the Angels’ assault with 13 points, including 12 on attacks, MJ Phillips unloaded eight spikes and finished with 11 points while Jonah Sabete backed them up with 10 points, including three aces.
PLDT produced 91 excellent digs against Petro Gazz’s 65 and posted 31 excellent sets, including 23 from veteran Rhea Dimaculangan, against Petro Gazz’s 24, including 20 from Chi Saet. But the High Speed Hitters struggled big-time trying to convert them into points to the chagrin of coach George Pascua.
Joy Soyud tried to single-handedly rally PLDT late in the fourth with a cluster of points but the Angels just had answers for every charge with Aiza Pontillas foiling Toni Basas’ attack to wrap up the contest.
Soyud led all scorers with 17 points while Dell Palomata added 10 hits, mostly on quick plays and power tips, while middle blocker Mika Reyes added eight points.
Bracing for a fierce fightback from the High Speed Hitters in the fourth, the Angels virtually glided to victory instead as they parlayed their rivals’ errors while drawing key hits from Phillips and Tiamzon and superb floor defense from the rest.
The Angels shoot for the sweep against the Creamline Cool Smashers on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Choco Mucho and Cignal HD clash Tuesday in a duel of unbeaten teams, disputing the top spot in Group A – and the twice-to-beat edge in the quarterfinals.
Both teams will be coming into their 3 p.m. match brimming with confidence following back-to-back wins although the fired-up HD Spikers appeared to have posted a more impressive start – upending the fancied Chery Tiggo Crossovers and the F2 Logistics Cargo Movers.
Chery Tiggo and Army (0-2) dispute the last berth in Group A at 6 p.m.
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