(UPDATED) The Petro Gazz Angels will finish the 2021 Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Open Conference as bronze medalists.
This, after the Angels completed a two-game sweep of Choco Mucho in their best-of-three series for third place with a 25-20, 25-18, 25-21 triumph in Game 2, Thursday at the PCV Socio-Civic Cultural Center in Bacarra, Ilocos Norte.
Veteran open spiker Myla Pablo came up big once more for the Angels, drilling the powerful crosscourt hit that turned out to be the match-winner.
"Masarap umuwi ng may bronze," said Petro Gazz setter Chie Saet, who was named Player of the Game after tallying 14 excellent sets and four points. "'Yun 'yung panalo namin. Natapos namin kung ano 'yung naumpisahan namin, at nagawa namin ang trabaho namin."
Pablo had a game-high 16 points built on 14 kills and two acs, while Grethcel Soltones added seven points, and Seth Rodriguez added six points.
The Flying Titans were playing without middle blocker Maddie Madayag, who suffered a knee injury in Wednesday's Game 1. With Choco Mucho playing for the seventh consecutive game, head coach Oliver Almadro opted to hold out his key players.
Almadro instead fielded his second stringers, a move that worked as Choco Mucho led for most of the opening set. But the Petro Gazz veterans took charge down the stretch, with Pablo drilling back-to-back hits to force a 20-all tie, before Molina nailed two straight attacks of her own to put the Angels in control.
Unforced errors by Choco Mucho sandwiched a Molina hit that gave Petro Gazz the opening set win.
In Set 2, the Angels used a 12-3 blitz midway through the frame to turn a close affair into a comfortable 18-9 advantage. The Flying Titans made a late run, but Soltones scored the last two points off the set for Petro Gazz.
Almadro sent two of his usual starters -- Ponggay Gaston and setter Deanna Wong -- into the match late into the third set, with Choco Mucho trailing 17-11. The Flying Titans were able to trim the deficit down to three points, 23-20, off a Kim Gequillana hit but the Angels would not be denied. They took two of the next three points, the last a huge hit by Pablo, to secure the bronze medal.
"Worth it lahat ng sakripisyo and 'yung mga paghihirap ng mga players," said Petro Gazz coach Arnold Laniog afterward. "'Yung one month talaga na nandito kami, iba 'yung experience talaga. Emotionally, macha-challenge ka, mentally."
Caitlyn Viray led the Flying Titans in scoring with nine points, while Necole Ebuen made the most of her start to score seven points, all on kills. May Angustia and Shannen Palec each scored six points, while Jamie Lavitoria, starting in place of Wong, had 14 excellent sets.
Usual starters Kat Tolentino, Bea de Leon, and Denden Lazaro-Revilla sat out the match.