MANILA, Philippines—The PetroGazz Angels are undeniably upset about the violation called on them in the final rally of their game against the Creamline Cool Smashers, but they understand that "bad calls happen."
This, according to PetroGazz captain and star import Janisa Johnson, after the Angels lost Game 1 of the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Reinforced Conference Finals in four sets, 26-24, 16-25, 16-25, 22-25.
The Angels were down 22-24 in the fourth frame, when Cherry Nunag was called for an over-reach that awarded the final point to Creamline. PetroGazz contested the call, but the first referee was adamant.
"I mean, bad calls happen. So I mean, unfortunately, it was bad timing for us on that point, but I mean, what can you do?" said Johnson, who had 20 points but connected on just 17 of 52 attacks.
"You can't go back and change anything. So like I said, we're pretty upset about that but we can't go back and change, so Saturday, we're gonna get revenge," she added.
PetroGazz coach Arnold Laniog was similarly upset with the call, but pointedly said that he didn't expect anything else.
"Wala, ganoon talaga. Pagka mga ganyan, alam niyo na kung kanino papanig," he said. "Isang ano lang din, isang challenge din para sa amin. Hangga't maari, yung galaw namin is talagang malinis."
"Malinis" was not how Laniog would describe his team's performance in Game 1 of the best-of-3 series. The Angels committed a whopping 31 unforced errors, with his imports making uncharacteristic miscues in their attack. Moreover, they struggled to deal with Creamline's service, making it difficult for their setters to maximize Johnson and Wilma Salas.
"It's always been our struggle this season with the errors," noted Johnson. "We try to work on it in practice, but unfortunately it comes out in the game."
Laniog said their unforced errors were the story of the game, and was indicative of their mindset coming into the contest.
"Sabi ko nga, bukod dun sa mental talaga, kung sino yung team talaga na mas may gusto. Kaya sabi ko talagang deserve ng Creamline yung panalo today dahil based doon sa stats talaga, mas gusto nila," he said.
With this in mind, Johnson says the next couple of days will be crucial for PetroGazz.
"Of course, we're pissed, we're upset, but it's not over yet, so we have to know that it's not over and come ready for Saturday," she said. "There's another chance for us for Saturday and Sunday."
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