MANILA, Philippines -- They had to wait a couple of hours, but the Petro Gazz Angels secured their place in the Finals of the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Reinforced Conference on Tuesday night.
The Gazz Angels did their part by defeating Cignal HD in four sets in their last semifinal game; a straight sets victory would have immediately given them the Finals slot, but instead they had to wait for the result of the game between Creamline and Chery Tiggo to learn their fate.
Because the Cool Smashers went the distance with the Crossovers, they finished with fewer points than both Cignal HD and Petro Gazz. The Gazz Angels thus set up a best-of-3 Finals series with the Crossovers, starting on Thursday at the Araneta Coliseum.
"We'll take it talaga, and for sure, may maririnig sa amin si Chery [Tiggo] na pasasalamat," Petro Gazz coach Rald Ricafort said after the Crossovers pushed their match against Creamline to four sets.
Even before the Creamline-Chery Tiggo game, Petro Gazz import Lindsey Vander Weide already considered their victory over the HD Spikers a "huge win."
The Gazz Angels had won the first two frames before suffering a collapse down the stretch of the third. They recovered in the fourth, with the American import delivering the key hits in their 25-14, 25-21, 25-27, 25-19.
"Huge win. Felt good, we've been carrying the momentum from the Chery game into this game. It felt really good on the court the entire time, even the set we lost, we were still playing well," said Vander Weide.
"Cignal's a really good team, they're gonna bounce back. But it's good to have that momentum, hopefully going into the Finals," she added.
She took responsibility for their failure to close out the third set, as Cignal HD saved three match points and pushed the match to an extension. Winning that one frame was all the HD Spikers needed to clinch a spot in the Finals by virtue of a superior set ratio.
"They didn't wanna let us have it in three sets. There were also some errors that I personally made that kinda happened out of just pure too much energy," Vander Weide admitted.
"We bounced back in the fourth, obviously, and that feels good. But of course, we would have loved to do it in three," she added.
They will get to meet Cignal HD again on Thursday with much more at stake, and both Vander Weide and Ricafort hope that they can bring the momentum of their semifinals win in Game 1 of the championship series.
"Masaya na may bagong rivalry," said Ricafort, who brought Petro Gazz to the Finals in his first conference in charge. "Lumalabas 'yung laro namin… Sana, ma-maximize ulit namin kung ano ''yung ginawa namin kanina.