A new rivalry is set to unfold Thursday, Dec. 1, when Petro Gazz and Cignal begin their championship series in the Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Game time is at 5:30 p.m. with both squads seeking to draw the first blood in their best-of-three affair.
The Angels and the HD Spikers defied the odds after figuring in the round-robin semifinal phase, gaining superior rank points against the fancied Creamline Cool Smashers after the three teams finished with identical 2-1 marks.
It was an even matchup as Cignal bested Petro Gazz in the preliminaries, 25-22, 34-32, 15-25, 16-25, 15-13, last Nov. 10, with the Angels getting back at the HD Spikers two days ago in the last semis playdate, 25-14, 25-21, 25-27, 25-19.
Petro Gazz coach Rald Ricafort hopes his stalwarts will carry the momentum from Tuesday’s victory in this crucial stage.
“Sana ma-maximize ulit namin at maipakita kung ano yung ginawa namin nung Tuesday. Mahaba pa to, three games pa,” Ricafort said.
“We’ll make sure that we make the most of this finals dahil binigay ng ganitong way,” he added.
On paper, Petro Gazz shows more strength on both ends after prevailing in attacks, 132-109, and blocks, 25-9, from their two matchups.
But Cignal appears more composed in the crunch, surviving the pivotal fifth set in their prelims duel.
The HD Spikers are ready to make the most out of their breakthrough finals appearance with Tai Bierria slated to anchor the crew along with Ces Molina, Ria Meneses, Rachel Daquis and Gel Cayuna.
“We just have to keep working, keep getting better,” said Bierria, whose ever-improving game underscored the HD Spikers’ steady rise to the top in a conference marked by twists and turns.
Petro Gazz, for its part, will continue to lean on the hard-hitting Lindsey Vander Weide, who erupted for 29 points the last time, as well as Aiza Pontillas, Myla Pablo and Djanel Cheng.