PVL: Vander Weide had no doubt local teammates would deliver in Game 1 - 'We were locked in'

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 01 2022 11:24 PM

Petro Gazz import Lindsey Vander Weide celebrates with Aiza Maizo-Pontillas after scoring against Cignal HD. PVL Media.
Petro Gazz import Lindsey Vander Weide celebrates with Aiza Maizo-Pontillas after scoring against Cignal HD. PVL Media.

MANILA, Philippines -- American import Lindsey Vander Weide did the heavy lifting, but her local teammates earned their share of the spotlight in Petro Gazz's Game 1 win over Cignal HD in the PVL Reinforced Conference Finals.

Vander Weide was virtually unstoppable, torching Cignal HD for 34 points including 31 kills in their 25-21, 27-25, 37-35 triumph on Thursday evening at the Araneta Coliseum.

But when the powerful spiker rotated to the back row, Petro Gazz got crucial contributions from the likes of Myla Pablo, Aiza Maizo-Pontillas, and Remy Palma to stay afloat. They were particularly impactful in the third set marathon, where Cignal HD saved seven match points before Vander Weide took charge in the end game.

"Normally, I'm stressed in games when we're super close in the end like the 20s," the American import admitted after the game.

"[But] this game, we were so locked in, it didn't matter who was up," she added. "We were gonna fight back and score and we did that in the second set, and the third set."

"That was the most impressive thing for me -- how we held up in those moments."

The veteran Maizo-Pontillas scored two crucial hits while Vander Weide was at the back line, including a kill that gave the Gazz Angels a 32-31 lead. Palma also contributed, with her rejection of a Ces Molina attack putting them at match point anew, 33-32. 

The HD Spikers refused to fade away easily, however, and it took a superb performance in the clutch from Vander Weide for Petro Gazz to finally seize the win. The American scored their last four points, including back-to-back crosscourt hits that broke Cignal HD's resistance.

"The whole game felt great. My energy with [Djanel] Cheng was excellent today, her setting was superb today so it was easy to put balls away. She was putting me in the perfect position, it felt great," said Vander Weide, whose 34 points are a career-high. 

Petro Gazz now has a 1-0 lead in their best-of-3 series, and can clinch a second straight Reinforced Conference crown on Tuesday's Game 2. The Gazz Angels also won the conference in 2019, behind the powerful duo of Janisa Johnson and Wilma Salas. 

Vander Weide wants Petro Gazz to bring the same mindset that they've had since the semifinals, where they booked impressive wins over Cignal HD and Chery Tiggo to advance to the championship series.

"We're really focused right now, we've been playing really well, so we just have to stay consistent and keep the same energy that we have," she said.

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