MANILA -- Without the presence of super import Lindsey Vander Weide and with prolific open spiker Myla Pablo transferring to F2 Logistics, pundits may easily think that the Petro Gazz Angels are in for an uphill climb in the 2023 Premier Volleyball League (PVL) All-Filipino Conference.
But Nicole Tiamzon thinks the all-Pinoy tournament presents a chance for the team’s outside spikers to step up and shine.
“Noong Reinforced, marami ring wing spikers na hindi naipapasok, hindi nabibigyan ng playing time, but this time, since all-Filipino, kumbaga time to shine na rin ng mga outside hitters natin,” Tiamzon said in an interview on ABS-CBN Sports’ YouTube channel.
“Looking forward kami na makapagbigay ng big performance without Lindsey,” she said.
Although Petro Gazz lost its opening assignment to defending champion Creamline last Saturday, Tiamzon said the squad’s overall goal is still to become the top seed in the tournament, regardless of whether there are imports or not.
“Wala namang sobrang laking adjustment,” she said. “To be No. 1, for the team, it doesn’t matter which conference it is, ‘yun pa rin ang goal namin.”
Among the Angels’ wingers this conference are veterans Grethcel Soltones and Dzi Gervacio, as well as Jonah Sabete and Heather Anne Guino-o.
The team is in the midst of a transition, with new head coach Oliver Almadro now orchestrating from the sidelines, but captain Chie Saet noted how easy the adjustment has been.
“So far, we are doing good. Every training, progress, process, maganda ang outcome ng ensayo. I’ve known Coach O since college days. ‘Yung iba, nasa stage pa ng adjustment period pero hindi ganoong kahalata kasi very approachable si coach,” the veteran setter said.
Libero Cienne Cruz also thinks chemistry has already been built.
“Nag-click agad ‘yung newcomers sa chemistry ng team, which is an advantage for us,” she said.
“With Coach O as our head coach, nag-click rin agad ‘yung dynamics and chemistry ng team pagdating sa practices. Very excited lang rin kami this coming conference.”
As the conference progresses, the Angels know that they will be challenged. But no matter the outcome of each game, Cruz said the most important aspect in the short-term would be to leave everything on the floor.
"Aside from (being No. 1), we want to give our best. We don’t want to regret na hindi namin binigay ang best namin, so pagdating sa game, we want to go all out pa rin,” she said.