MANILA, Philippines—The PetroGazz Angels were as surprised as the fans to see BanKo-Perlas play without its imports in their game in the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Reinforced Conference on Wednesday.
Thai coach Apichat Kongsawat opted not to start either American Kia Bright or Turkish middle blocker Yasemin Yildirim, and both only saw limited minutes.
Yet PetroGazz couldn't put the Perlas Spikers away easily. The Angels labored through the opening set, dropped the third, then had to fend off a late rally by BanKo to eventually claim a 25-23, 25-11, 22-25, 25-20 triumph.
"In fairness naman sa BanKo, kahit sabihin mo na all-Filipino sila, pero mas nagko-connect. Siguro kaya nahirapan din kami noong third set," said PetroGazz coach Arnold Laniog after the game.
Laniog observed that the Perlas Spikers were "more aggressive" when they played as an all-Filipino crew, and also displayed better chemistry.
"Mas nagko-connect sila. Kumbaga, parang wala silang pressure. They want to play, kumbaga gustong-gusto nila yung mag-laro," he said.
"Parang nag-iiba pagka-hinaluan na ng import, kaya yun siguro ang ginagawa nila. Noong natalo kami nung set, nung third set, yun yung all-Filipino, yun ang difference.
"Parang hindi lang sila nagje-jell or nagko-connect sa import nila."
PetroGazz captain Janisa Johnson said the BanKo locals "still gave a fight," even though they were ultimately outgunned by the Angels. BanKo, as a team, had 41 kills; Johnson and fellow import Wilma Salas combined for 58 attack points.
"Regardless of who's on the court or who's not, they did their jobs. We had a challenge but we pulled it off," said Johnson.
The Angels struggled to contain Nicole Tiamzon and Dzi Gervacio, particularly in the third set. Gervacio found her rhythm from the back row, while Tiamzon came up with some clutch hits.
On BanKo's side, the Perlas Spikers were proud of how they performed even with their imports sitting out most of the game, a decision made by their coach.
"Nakikita mo naman 'yung teammates mo na sobrang nagpe-perform talaga, so it's all about the teamwork inside, kahit wala 'yung mga imports sa loob. So I'm happy," said Tiamzon, who finished with 20 points.
Gervacio, who scored 13 in the loss, added: "It turned out pretty well. We almost finished the first set na it was just us, then we took the (third) set, which is their first (set) loss."
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