Petro Gazz takes Game 1 in battle for third place

The Petro Gazz Angels drew first blood in its best-of-three series for third place after beating the Choco Mucho Flying Titans, 25-21, 25-15, 22-25, 25-20, in Game One in the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference on Wednesday afternoon at the PCV Socio Civic and Cultural Center in Bacarra.

After suffering a third-set meltdown, the Angels regrouped and then pounced on the injury suffered by Choco Mucho blocker Maddie Madayag at the midway point of the fourth set, scoring 10 of the game’s last 15 points to come away with the victory in the match that lasted an hour and 56 minutes.

Petro Gazz will try to secure the third place trophy when the two teams clash once again in Game Two on Thursday at 2 p.m.

“This tournament is not about skills anymore but more on the mental game. It’s all about how we prepare as individual and as a team,” said Petro Gazz coach Arnold Laniog.

“So, for this game, the players connected and they handled everything well compared to our previous games,” added Laniog.

Myla Pablo scored 26 points while Cebuana Grethcel Soltones added 13 points. The Angels also got help from the likes of Ces Molina who had 11 hits and 10 points from Ria Meneses.

Ponggay Gaston led the Flying Titans with 18 points while Kat Tolentino managed 10. Caitlyn Viray added eight points. Madayag, Shannen Palec, and Regine Arocha ended up with six points apiece.

Choco Mucho, which defeated Petro Gazz in four sets in their match in the elimination round last Aug. 6, bounced back from 0-2 deficit with a strong charge in the third and had a shot at tying the game as they were tied at 15-all in the fourth.

Choco Mucho’s Maddie Madayag is attended to by medical personnel after she suffered a knee injury. / PVL

However, disaster struck when Madayag landed awkwardly on her left knee after getting blocked by Petro Gazz’s Ria Meneses on a quick attempt. She writhed in pain on the floor and was seen crying as she was brought off the court in a wheelchair with the team’s medical staff still assessing her condition at press time.

Despite Madayag’s absence, the Flying Titans kept at it and even surged ahead, 20-19 after a kill by Gaston. However, Kim Gequillana served into the net and Pablo scored three straight hits, the last ending a long rally that featured fiery exchanges of powerful shots and crafty digs.

The Flying Titans could not gain their footing afterward, surrendering another point on Soltones’ power serve and yielding the game on Tolentino’s back-row attack that went out.

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