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Sweeping thriller: Petro Gazz blanks Cignal off 37-35 third-set finisher

JR Isaga
Sweeping thriller: Petro Gazz blanks Cignal off 37-35 third-set finisher

TOP IMPORT. Petro Gazz import Lindsey Vander Weide celebrates at the 2022 PVL Reinforced Conference finals

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Petro Gazz import Lindsey Vander Weide explodes for a career-high 34 points as the Angels sweep the Cignal HD Spikers in an all-time Game 1 finals thriller

MANILA, Philippines – The Petro Gazz Angels dug from the deepest pits of their energy reserves to deny the feisty Cignal HD Spikers in a thrilling PVL Reinforced Conference Game 1 sweep, 25-21, 27-25, 37-35, at the Araneta Coliseum on Thursday, December 1.

Best Import candidate Lindsey Vander Weide showed all-time composure amid a 45-minute third set and finished with a huge career-high 34-point bomb off 31 attacks, 2 blocks, and 1 ace as Petro Gazz moves one win away from defending the title it won back in 2019.

Underrated setter Djanel Cheng tallied 18 excellent sets, while veteran spikers Myla Pablo and Aiza Maizo-Pontillas led the local crew with 10 points apiece.

The Angels looked ready to rise to a quick sweep after Jerrilli Malabanan gifted match point off a service error, 24-23, but a Tai Bierria kill to reset the game set the stage for what turned out to be 24 extra thrilling points going back-and-forth between the two squads.

Three Maizo-Pontillas match point-forcers later past the 30-point mark, Cignal still managed to get set point, 35-34, off a Vander Weide attack error. However, the American reinforcement rallied right back with three straight points, capped with a booming crosscourt kill to finally put the HD Spikers away.

“I guess the lesson we got from the other game the other day against Cignal was we let go of the third set. We just wanted to remove that complacency,” said Petro Gazz head coach Rald Ricafort in Filipino.

“I told them today that we shouldn’t give Cignal that kind of leeway.”

Bierria led the heartbreaking loss that saw 9 match points with 18 points off 17 attacks, while Ces Molina and Roselyn Doria scored 9 and 8, respectively.

Angeli Araneta, Ria Meneses, and third-set clutch hero Chai Troncoso all added 7 points apiece as the HD Spikers moved to the brink of a silver medal finish – still their best in the last three conferences.

Both Petro Gazz and Cignal will have a crucial five-day break before Game 2 tips off on Tuesday, December 6, 5:30 pm at the PhilSports Arena.

Creamline hands Chery Tiggo 25-5 third-set annihilation

Meanwhile, the Creamline Cool Smashers came one step closer to the bronze medal with a third-set obliteration of the Chery Tiggo Crossovers on the way to a four-set win, 25-22, 22-25, 25-5, 25-19.

Two-time MVP Tots Carlos rallied the all-Filipino winning side with 19 points off 18 attacks, while four other Cool Smashers scored in double figures, with Alyssa Valdez also firing 16 points.

However, it was Pangs Panaga’s time to shine as she tied the 2022 season block record with 14 points built off 9 rejections, 4 attacks, and 1 ace.

Roselle Baliton paced the loss with 10 points, while MVP candidate Mylene Paat was checked to just 8 points off a cold 7-of-54 attack clip.

Creamline can officially clinch the bronze medal on Tuesday, 2:30 pm. However, if Chery Tiggo bounces back and Petro Gazz sweeps the finals against Cignal, the league will turn to the point system once more to determine the final third-placer. –

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