Petro Gazz needed nine match points in surviving a pesky Cignal side, 25-21, 27-25, 37-35, to move on the cusp of clinching the Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference title at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Thursday night, Dec. 1.
Lindsey Vander Weide and Aiza Pontillas carried the fight for the Angels particularly in the pivotal extended third set, where they attacked on all angles to douse the fire of the resilient HD Spikers.
The victory put Petro Gazz a win away from replicating its 2019 title feat in this best-of-three series.
Down 35-34 after her spike went wide, Vander Weide immediately got back on track and fired three straight down-the-line kills to seal the match for the Angels after one hour and 48 minutes.
Overall, Vander Weide torched the net by exploding with 34 points highlighted by 31 attacks.
“That (third set) was stressful,” Vander Weide said. “I just knew whenever I got the ball, I needed to score. I was really confident, but the whole time, it was a scary situation.”
Pontillas also stepped up in the crunch particularly when Vander Weide was at the back row rotation and delivered 10 kills – three of which sent Petro Gazz at match point advantages.
Myla Pablo also shone for the Angels with 10 points.
Tai Bierria and Ces Molina, who combined for 27 points, attempted to lift Cignal with a variety of attacks in the crucial moments, but Vander Weide and Pontillas were too much to handle.
Petro Gazz will try to close it out in Game 2 on Tuesday, Dec. 6, while Game 3, if necessary, will be on Thursday, Dec. 8, both at the Philsports Arena.