MANILA, Philippines — Petro Gazz stunned Choco Mucho in straight sets, 25-18, 25-20, 25-21, to earn its first win in the 2023 Premier Volleyball League All-Filipino Conference on Thursday at FilOil EcoOil Centre in San Juan.
The Angels’ new coach Oliver Almadro haunted his former team as Petro Gazz won in one hour and 44 minutes. But the animated tactician deflected the credit to his new squad, led by Aiza Maizo-Pontillas’ 19-point explosion.
“It’s not about me, it’s them. Considering that I’m new to this team. I think my addition [to this team] is just giving them more motivation and [strengthening] their characters. The skill is there and they are hard-working,” said Almadro, who resigned as Choco Mucho coach in the middle of the Reinforced Conference, in Filipino.
“I will not say that it’s about me, it’s them. They wanted to win. They also told me yesterday that they will win it, so I believed in them.”
Pontillas displayed her vintage form, firing 18 attacks on top of 14 digs as Petro Gazz bounced back from a straight-set loss to Creamline last Saturday to improve to a 1-1 record, tying Choco Mucho.
Grethcel Soltones chipped in 11 points and 13 receptions. Setter Djanel Cheng made 18 excellent sets. Jonah Sabete had nine points, while middle blockers Des Clemente and Remy Palma added seven markers, stepping up to fill in the void of MJ Phillips, who missed her second straight game.
The Angels bucked a slow start trailing the Flying Titans, 13-8, in the first set but they unleashed a 17-5 run to steal the opening frame.
Petro Gazz kept its momentum in the second set but Choco Mucho threatened to extend the match in the third, turning a 15-18 deficit into a one-point game, 21-20, after Des Cheng’s attack.
Palma restored the order with a quick attack and a block on Cheng for a 23-20 breather before the latter answered with a kill. Pontillas and Sabete ended the game with back-to-back clutch spikes.
Choco Mucho coach Dante Alinsunurin suffered his first loss in the professional ranks, following a rousing debut against Akari last Saturday.
Kat Tolentino led the Flying Titans with 14 points, including three blocks, while Cheng finished with nine markers and 11 digs.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.