Petro Gazz snatched victory from the clutches of defeat, hacking out a 25-22, 21-25, 22-25, 26-24, 18-16 victory over erstwhile unbeaten Cignal HD Sunday to force a sudden death for the other finals berth.
The Angels and the HD Spikers will have less than 24 hours to rest to prepare for the knockout match set at 6 p.m. Monday back at the Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
Myla Pablo flashed vintage form to anchor the Angels’ amazing climb from the brink twice, coming through with a hit to force a 24-all count in the fourth and after an ace from Remy Palma, the former National U standout produced a block to force an extra set.
In a tense-filled decider where both teams traded points majority of the way, the Angels took command at 10-8 but the HD Spikers rallied and took six of the next eight points to move at match point, 14-12.
But Aiza Pontillas and Palma delivered two clutch hits to extend the match and after another exchange of hits in a match that boiled down to a duel of nerves, Chie Saet scored on a 1-2 play to break a 16-all count and Pablo hammered another killer blow through two Cignal defenders as the Angels lived for another day to stay in the finals hunt.
The thrilling escape more than made up for the Angels’ failed bid in Game One, which they practically lost, 21-25, 23-25, 23-25, through endgame meltdown in all three sets.
The big crowd of 16,687 were back at the MOA Arena and so were the Creamline Cool Smashers in the finals.
The Cool Smashers took Choco Mucho’s challenge to heart, battling back from a set down and pounding out a 23-25, 25-19, 25-18, 25-15 victory to clinch the first championship berth.