With limited time to prepare and make adjustments, Petro Gazz and Creamline agree it will boil down to which side will set out for Game 2 of the Premier Volleyball League All Filipino Conference Finals Tuesday, March 28, with the right frame of mind.
“Prepare the mindset, prepare the body, and everything follows,” said Petro Gazz coach Oliver Almadro after steering the Angels to a pulsating 25-22, 24-26, 25-23, 26-24 victory in the opener of their best-of-three series before 11,532 fans at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City last Sunday.
“One day lang ang pahinga, kaya mindset sa next game,” said Creamline mentor Sherwin Meneses, who vowed to strike back in today’s match set at 6:30 p.m. also the same arena and force a decider on Thursday.
“Mahirap mag-adjust (sa schedule ng training), pero dapat malakas ang mindset (for Game 2),” added Meneses. “Kailangan namin na mas gumalaw ng tama. Gustong manalo ng Petro Gazz, grabe yung laro nila ngayon.”
The multi-titled mentor rued his wards’ erratic outing and stressed the need for them to focus on avoiding committing basic errors in service and net touch, among others.
The Angels pounced on the Cool Smashers’ 22 miscues, including the match-clinching net violation that somewhat gave the thrilling duel, spiked by fierce exchanges of attacks, digs and everything, an anti-climactic ending.
Meneses, however, downplayed their last error, a crucial point that Petro Gazz gained on a net touch challenge, saying: “Breaks of the game, pero hindi kami natalo dahil doon, marami kaming lapses, marami kaming errors.”
“Hindi base doon yung pagkatalo namin. Breaks talaga yun kasi napunta sa kanila, kasi net touch, so kasalanan namin. Siguro yung from 1 to 24, doon kami nagkulang,” added Meneses.
The two-time PVL champion coach, however, remains confident of his Cool Smashers’ chances as they seek to go all-out to send the series into a deciding game and stay in the hunt for back-to-back championships in the centerpiece tournament of the league organized by Sports Vision.
Expect Tots Carlos, Jema Galanza, Ced Domingo, Michele Gumabao and playmaker Jia de Guzman to crank up their offensive games and the rest to back them up with a gritty floor defense and coverage and keep the pressure on the reigning Reinforced Conference champions.
But the fired-up Angels are keen on finishing off their multi-titled rivals as they go for their first All-Filipino trophy after nailing two crowns in the import-laced tournaments, including in last December’s finals against the Cignal HD Spikers.
“Follow the game plan, show the character, teamwork and right attitude,” said Almadro of their battle plan. He is again expected to count on her gutsy crew made up of Grethcel Soltones, Jonah Sabete, Aiza Pontillas, Remy Palma and top middle MJ Phillips and Djanel Cheng, whose superb playmaking skills helped anchor the Angels’ surprise Game One victory.
“But the most important thing is we have to be prepared. Creamline is a matured, intact team,” added Almadro, who is one win away from claiming his first PVL championship. “They’re strong team, they are the Goliaths of this tournament. Kami naman, we just ask the Lord, ‘can we be the David’?”
Meanwhile, F2 Logistics also guns for a sweep of its own best-of-three series with PLDT at 4 p.m. as the Cargo Movers go for a follow-up to their 20-25, 25-22, 25-18, 25-17 victory in Game One.
Games are telecast live on One Sports, One Sports+, Cignal Play, and SMART Live Stream and on pvl.ph.