MANILA (UPDATED) -- The PetroGazz Angels are headed to the finals of the 2022 Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Open Conference after completing a comeback against the Cignal HD Spikers.
Down 0-1 in their best-of-3 semifinals series, the Gazz Angels won the last two games, including a 25-21, 28-26, 15-25, 25-21 in the do-or-die match on Monday afternoon at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Veteran setter Chie Saet pulled the strings for the Gazz Angels in the win, as they showed their poise in the extended second set, then bounced back from a tough outing in the third frame to close out the HD Spikers.
"Pinaghirapan namin 'to," an emotional Saet said after the game. "Hindi rin nahirapan 'yung jelling, kasi matured na 'yung team. Kaunti na lang 'yung idadagdag sa amin."
It will be the third Finals appearance for the Gazz Angels, who ruled the 2019 Reinforced Conference and were runners-up in the 2019 Open Conference. Once again, they will be playing the Creamline Cool Smashers, their opponents in their first two championship stints.
Meanwhile, it was a disappointing defeat for Cignal HD, who were one win away from the Finals after sweeping their pool in the group stage. They lost skipper Rachel Anne Daquis to cramps in the second set, and a brief flurry in the fourth wasn't enough to keep them from defeat.
The HD Spikers were on the brink of equalizing, 24-22, in Set 2 when Daquis had to be subbed out after cramping up. PetroGazz went on to snatch the set, with Aiza Maizo-Pontillas and Myla Pablo firing the clutch hits to complete the come-from-behind win.
Jerrili Malabanan, who subbed for Daquis, came alive in Set 3 along with Ces Molina to keep the HD Spikers alive. But the Gazz Angels would not be denied. They built a 20-16 lead in Set 4, before back-to-back hits by Roselyn Doria got the HD Spikers back in the match.
But Saet set up Pablo and MJ Phillips for clutch hits that allowed them to pull away again, and an ace by Pablo wrapped up the match in an hour and 57 minutes.
"Gaya ng sinabi ko, mas uhaw kami ngayon," said Saet. "Mas gusto namin, mas gusto naming manalo."
The Gazz Angels got balanced scoring from their attackers, with Maizo-Pontillas and Pablo each scoring 17 points while Rem Palma added 14 markers. Grethcel Soltones had 12 points, including the backrow-hit that put them at match point.
Molina led Cignal HD with 23 points, and Doria scored 15 points including five kill blocks. Daquis had eight points before leaving the match.
The HD Spikers will play the Choco Mucho Flying Titans for the bronze.