Premier Volleyball League

PLDT bucks 1st-set blowout, wallops Petro Gazz late to force semis do-or-die

JR Isaga
PLDT bucks 1st-set blowout, wallops Petro Gazz late to force semis do-or-die

RECONNECTED. PLDT spiker Mich Morente celebrates after a scored point at the 2023 PVL All-Filipino Conference semifinals.

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PVL Best Libero candidate Kath Arado and setter Rhea Dimaculangan lead PLDT's semis comeback over Petro Gazz to force a do-or-die Game 3

MANILA, Philippines – The PLDT High Speed Hitters bounced back at the 2023 PVL All-Filipino Conference semifinals Game 2 with a late pummeling of the Petro Gazz Angels, 14-25, 25-23, 25-14, 25-15, to force a series do-or-die at the Mall of Asia Arena on Tuesday, March 21.

Game 3 is still at the Mall of Asia Arena on Thursday, March 23, time to be determined.

Kath Arado continued to solidify her Best Libero bid with 26 excellent digs and 12 excellent receptions, with 2 points to boot, while Rhea Dimaculangan celebrated her 32nd birthday with 25 excellent sets, helping four players to double-digit scoring.

That cast is led by Mich Morente with 16 points as Jovy Prado tallied another triple-double off 15 points, 11 excellent digs, and 10 excellent receptions.

Brushing off a forgettable opener, PLDT sparked up momentum after a crucial Grethcel Soltones net touch challenge that gave the High Speed Hitters set point, 24-23, before Morente blocked Soltones to take the second set.

It was then all PLDT from that point as a 25-14 third-set rout set the stage for a repeat in the fourth. Thanks to a 10-2 surge from a small 11-9 lead, the High Speed Hitters put the game out of reach at 21-11 off a Dell Palomata quick attack before a pair of Me-an Mendrez points sealed the deal in the end.

“I said it’s like we gave the first set as a warm up with how slow we started. It’s not a knock on Petro Gazz but more on us. Our first set, we had no focus and intensity,” said PLDT head coach Rald Ricafort in Filipino.

“Good thing the matchups worked in the second set onwards. Conditioning is off on both sides, so we’re just holding on to our will to win.”

Three Petro Gazz players scored in double figures in the loss, led by Jonah Sabete’s 13 points and 12 each from Grethcel Soltones and Aiza Maizo-Pontillas. –

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