Janisa Johnson on Petro Gazz’s first title: ‘I wanted them to experience a championship’

Knowing her team hasn’t won a championship before, American reinforcement Janisa Johnson used that as motivation to take Game Three and give her squad the glory they’ve been waiting for.

Johnson and the Petro Gazz Angels made history as they finally clinched their first title after overpowering the Creamline Cool Smashers in four sets, 25-15, 28-30, 25-23, 25-19, earlier in Game Three of the 2019 PVL Reinforced Conference at the Ynares Center Antipolo.

Johnson, together with fellow guest player Wilma Salas, carried their team’s offensive arsenal that turned out to be too strong for the Cool Smashers.

It was sheer domination for Salas and Johnson who led the Angels anew with 30 and 23 points, respectively. The prolific duo scored 53 out of the 103 points garnered by their team.

Johnson, for her stellar performance all throughout the title series, finished the season with the Finals Most Valuable Player award.

While individual awards aren’t really what she aims for, the American reinforcement expressed her happiness with the award knowing that she did her best for her squad.

“It feels nice–I don’t know how it’s going to fit into my bag but I’m going to try to fit it in there,” Johnson said jokingly.

 

“For me, awards aren’t what I try to achieve but when I win one, I take it all to heart because it’s a great accomplishment,” she added.

It was a better campaign this time around for Johnson, who first played in the country in last year’s reinforced conference with the Balipure-National University squad.

Johnson said this title run felt special for her, wanting her teammates to experience a championship moment knowing that the squad waited for this moment for a long time.

“Like I’ve said before, I’m doing it for the girls because I know what it feels like to win a championship but the other girls don’t–I wanted them to experience what I’ve experienced before. We’re all new and I wanted to do everything I could just to get us the championship,” Johnson said.

The American national also thanked her teammates for an amazing run this conference as she finally clinched a gold medal in the league after failing to do so last year.

With the championship secured, Johnson said she can finally now enjoy the rest of her stay here in the country with the pressure off her shoulders.

“I know last year was my first year so I was new to everything, but this year I felt comfortable and I felt like all the girls made it easy for me to be here,” Johnson said.

 

“Now that we’ve won, it’s like a weight lifted off my shoulder. I can finally enjoy the wind and I can enjoy the rest of my time here,” she ended.

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Petro Gazz subdues Creamline to clinch first PVL crown

At last, they finally made history.

The Petro Gazz Angels ended their season in the best way possible as they clinched their first Premier Volleyball League crown after overpowering the Creamline Cool Smashers in four sets, 25-15, 28-30, 25-23, 25-19, in Game Three of the 2019 PVL Reinforced Conference title series at the Ynares Center Antipolo.

Petro Gazz played sharp and poised in their winner-take-all game, with their offensive arsenal too strong to stop for the Cool Smashers.

With the victory, the Angels captured their first ever title in franchise history while denying Creamline a third straight championship in the league.

Wilma Salas and Janisa Johnson led the onslaught anew for Petro Gazz with 30 and 23 points, with the latter awarded the Finals Most Valuable Player.

Meanwhile, team captain Alyssa Valdez and Thai reinforcement Kuttika Kaewpin led the losing effort for the Cool Smashers with 22 and 17 points respectively.

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Lady Troopers rout Perlas Spikers in five-set thriller to clinch bronze medal finish

The Pacifictown Army Lady Troopers successfully clinched a bronze medal finish after surviving the BanKo Perlas Spikers in five sets, 18-25, 25-16, 20-25, 25-15, 15-13, earlier in the 2019 PVL Reinforced Conference at the Ynares Center Antipolo.

Their third place finish was a good ending for the Lady Troopers who came back in the league after a two-year absence.

The Perlas Spikers started strong in the opening set with an early eight-point lead, 19-11, eventually winning the set with a crosscourt kill by Thai reinforcement Sutadta Chuewulim.

The Lady Troopers responded right back in the second set, establishing a dominant 9-1 run from the 16-15 mark to tie things up.

It was tightly contested in the third set with both teams refusing to pull away, with BanKo only pulling off the two-set advantage after Dzi Gervacio’s off-the-block hit and Jem Ferrer’s set-winning ace.

With their backs against the wall, Pacifictown Army showed dominance with a 21-14 lead in the fourth set, winning the set with an Olena Lymareva-Flink kill and extending the game to a decider.

After their seesaw affair that extended the match to a fifth set, the Lady Troopers came back from their 6-10 deficit and took over the lead with Lymareva-Flink and Jovelyn Gonzaga at the helm for the win, the latter scoring the game-winning ace.

Lymareva-Flink led the charge for Pacifictown Army with 32 points while Jenelle Jordan added 19.

Meanwhile, Nicole Tiamzon and Chuewulim led the losing effort for the Perlas Spikers with 22 and 16 points respectively.

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Alyssa Valdez on Game 2 loss: ‘Petro Gazz really wanted it bad’

Unsuccessful in ending their title campaign today, Creamline team captain Alyssa Valdez admitted Petro Gazz’s fire blazed stronger to take the series to a winner-take-all match.

The Cool Smashers failed to finish their season today as they succumbed to the Angels in four sets, 25-15, 22-25, 22-25, 12-25, earlier in Game Two of the 2019 PVL Reinforced Conference best-of-three title series at the Filoil Flying V Center.

After their previous dominant display back in Game One, Creamline seemed out of character as their usual offensive prowess appeared absent in their match earlier.

Despite a strong opening set win, the Cool Smashers failed to contain Petro Gazz’s uprising led by guest players Wilma Salas and Janisa Johnson in the next two sets, giving their opponents a two-set advantage and ultimately losing steam in the fourth set.

Valdez, who was awarded the most valuable player award earlier, led the losing effort for Creamline with 17 points each. Guest players Kuttika Kaewpin and Aleoscar Blanco added 13 and 10 respectively.

With their loss, Valdez humbly admitted the Angels showed more hunger in winning today’s game.

“I guess it goes to show talaga na Petro Gazz really wanted it bad na manalo talaga in this game. Mas nag-work hard talaga sila–mas ginalingan, mas kitang-kita na gustong-gusto nila na hindi matapos today ‘yung finals series,” Valdez said.

After the game, the team captain said it was quiet inside their dugout, but added the Cool Smashers are positively looking forward to tomorrow’s game in hopes of attaining their third straight title in the league.

“Everyone’s so quiet [and] very sad, but Coach Tai was able to turn that mood into something different din. We all know Coach Tai, he won’t let this loss din na maka-affect sa amin lalong-lalo na tomorrow na agad ‘yung game,” Valdez said.

With their winner-take-all match, the team captain said both teams have different motivations in their respective title campaigns.

“It’s really an interesting series. Why? Because Petro Gazz, it’s their first time in the finals–Kami, it’s our third na,” Valdez said.

 

“Sila, very inspired [and] nothing to lose kasi it’s their first time–sa amin, paano namin magiging consistent na ma-maintain. So, iisa lang ‘yung goal namin na parehas na team,” she added.

The Cool Smashers and the Angels will battle it out for the conference title tomorrow at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.

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Janisa Johnson says not today as Petro Gazz stuns Creamline to force Game Three

Janisa Johnson and the Petro Gazz Angels came today for payback–and they got it.

Hope is alive for Petro Gazz after overpowering the Creamline Cool Smashers in four sets, 15-25, 25-22, 25-22, 25-12, earlier in Game 2 of the 2019 PVL Reinforced Conference best-of-three finals.

It was a much-needed victory for the Angels who dropped a four-set game against the Cool Smashers in Game 1 last Wednesday.

After losing the first set, Petro Gazz showed stronger character in the next two sets, hanging on in their seesaw affair against Creamline and doing just enough to garner a two-set advantage.

It was all Petro Gazz in the fourth set as the Cool Smashers ultimately lost steam, with the Angels pouncing on their opponents’ meltdown to take the series to a winner-take-all Game Three.

Guest players Janisa Johnson and Wilma Salas led the onslaught for the Angels with 23 points each, the latter registering a triple-double performance.

Johnson said Petro Gazz started to get their game together after dropping the first set, knowing this is their last chance to keep their hopes alive in the series.

“After the first set, it was a reality check and it kicked in–it was now or never. It kicked in just in time, and I’m proud of my team,” she said.

The win was a much-needed morale booster for the Angels who are seeking their first crown in the league.

Given Creamline’s championship history, Petro Gazz knows odds are stacked against them–having that in mind, Johnson said they will use that as motivation to achieve their goal.

“I know we have a lot of people against us because they’re the defending champs. We want to prove people wrong, that just because we’re a new team doesn’t mean we don’t deserve to win,” Johnson said.

With Game 3 happening tomorrow, Johnson said she is ready to give it her all for the Angels, sharing that she is also doing this for her teammates who have wanted a league title for a long time.

“I’m doing this for the girls–I know they haven’t been in the finals before, and because of that, they’re pushing me and pushing myself for them,” she ended.

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Creamline’s Game One win due to smarter, cleaner game over Petro Gazz

Drawing first blood in their title series, the Creamline Cool Smashers showed how serious they are to clinch their third consecutive in the league as they displayed a game well thought out.

The Cool Smashers drew first blood as they dismantled title rivals Petro Gazz Angels in four sets, 24-26, 25-16, 25-16, 25-22, last Wednesday in Game One of the 2019 PVL Reinforced Conference at the Filoil Flying V Center.

After an opening set hiccup, the defending champions regained poise as they captured the next three sets with their balanced scoring effort and mindful play.

Creamline’s power trinity—team captain Alyssa Valdez, and foreign reinforcements Aleoscar Blanco and Kuttika Kaewpin—paved the way anew for the team with 16, 18, and 21 points respectively for a combined 55-point effort.

Game One saw a wise Creamline squad who played with an apparent strategy on how to stop their powerful opponents.

The defending champions successfully gave a hard time to Petro Gazz’s scoring duo of Wilma Salas and Janisa Johnson who were mostly targeted by the Cool Smashers’ offense, forcing them to put in the effort twice as hard.

While Johnson and Salas still finished with 20 and 18 points, both of them struggled to get their game going due to Creamline’s heavy service game. The Cool Smashers either made Petro Gazz commit errors or forced them to make receives away from the setter, leaving their opponents with fewer options.

Valdez mentioned this in a post-game interview last Wednesday, saying that her team knows how deadly the Angels can be when they get their offense going.

“In the past few games of Petro Gazz, nakita namin na distributed well talaga ‘yung mga bola, so we aim to minimize ‘yung mga ibang nakaka-score talaga,” Valdez said.

 

“We tried to minimize and we really wanted to force them to make errors kasi mahirap talaga silang depensahan, so the only thing na makakakuha kami ng puntos is if they make errors,” the team captain added.

What also contributed to Creamline’s cause was their relatively cleaner game against their opponents, with the Cool Smashers only committing 16 errors compared to the Angels’ 31.

With their errors minimized, the scoring efforts of Valdez, Kaewpin, and Blanco didn’t get wasted as much, in contrast to Petro Gazz’s 31 errors which threw off the 38-point effort of their reinforcements.

It is imperative for the Cool Smashers to continue playing smarter and cleaner, but most importantly to prepare for the Angels as they are sure to seek vengeance in tomorrow’s game.

What is important for Creamline, according to Valdez, is to play happy—a mantra that has won them many games in the league.

“Mini-mindset lang talaga sa amin ni Coach Tai all the time to play happy and walang pressure, kasi if we pressure ourselves to be perfect, then mahihirapan kami,” she ended.

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Petro Gazz’s Game One loss plagued by errors, ball distribution woes

In order to get their first championship in the league, it is safe to say that the Petro Gazz Angels need the whole band to come together and contribute to the cause while striving to play a cleaner game.

In their first-ever championship game, the Angels succumbed to the Creamline Cool Smashers in four sets, 26-24, 16-25, 16-25, 22-25, last Wednesday as they find their backs against the walls in the best-of-three title series.

While they captured the opening set due to a late comeback, Petro Gazz seemed to lose steam in the next three sets with the Cool Smashers making it rain from all cylinders.

One of the main problems that cost them the first game was the lack of a stronger supporting cast.

Foreign reinforcements Janisa Johnson and Wilma Salas led the team anew with 20 and 18 points respectively, with the former also recording a triple-double performance.

While seven other players contributed points for the Angels, their combined 26 points proved inadequate for the team’s cause.

Additionally, ball distribution seemed to be a problem with Johnson and Salas accounting for two-thirds of Petro Gazz’s total spike attempts, with both of them recording 101 out of the team’s 159 total attempts.

This might be attributed to Creamline’s heavy service game that bothered the Angels, with most of their passes forcing the setter to go to the wing spikers more and less often to the middle. Djanel Cheng, Petro Gazz’s main setter, only registered 13 excellent sets.

But what cost them the game, even more, were the errors that killed their momentum and neutralized the efforts of their guest players.

The Angels gave away 31 errors to Creamline, accounting for almost one-third of their total score. The defending champions, meanwhile, played a relatively cleaner game with 16 points.

Johnson said error-plagued games have always been the struggle of Petro Gazz the whole season, adding that they are going to work on it for a better showing tomorrow.

“It has always been our struggle this season, with the errors. When we play good, we’re here. When we play bad, it’s because of our errors,” Johnson said.

 

“We try to work on it on practice but unfortunately it comes out in the game. In our next two days, it’s solely working on our errors because it cost us this game,” she added.

There is clearly a challenge for the Angels to step up and fix their problems from the first game if they want to keep their chances alive, considering the Cool Smashers’ championship experience and with them just one win away from their third straight title.

With that, Johnson promised to use their Game One loss as added motivation to extend the series to a winner-take-all Game Three.

“When we lost to Creamline last time, we used it to come back and get a better mindset. We knew they were going to bring everything and unfortunately we weren’t as prepared as we thought, but now we have these two days to regain our focus and come ready for Saturday,” she ended.

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Janisa Johnson on Game One loss: “Creamline did their homework”

Petro Gazz reinforcement Janisa Johnson commended the Creamline Cool Smashers for “doing their homework” and defeating them in Game One of the 2019 PVL Reinforced Conference best-of-three finals.

The Angels find their backs against the wall after the Cool Smashers drew first blood in four sets, 26-24, 16-25, 16-25, 22-25, in their first game of the title series yesterday.

After a late resurgence in the first set, Petro Gazz seemed to lose steam in the next two sets, with Creamline finding rhythm in their balanced scoring efforts.

While the Angels tried to revive their game and led early in the fourth set, the Cool Smashers showed character and inched back to take the lead, eventually winning the set with a dramatic final point.

The defending champions proved too much for Johnson, who finished with 20 points and a triple-double performance to lead her team.

While fellow guest player Wilma Salas contributed 18 points, their efforts went to waste as their team committed 31 errors compared to Creamline’s 16.

The American reinforcement credited the Cool Smashers for studying them well and giving them a hard time, promising to do better in their next game.

“They did their homework. They have to study hard because it’s the finals, and they did good. But now we know how they studied us, so now we have to study them and be more prepared,” Johnson said.

Despite their scoring display, both Johnson and Salas struggled all throughout the game with the defending champions targeting the two of them with their heavy service game, forcing them to double the effort as usual.

While they tried to rally their team in the fourth set, it was already too late as the Cool Smashers already sealed the win, though the crucial final call by the officials left them upset.

However, there was no use dwelling on it, according to Johnson, who said that bad calls are part of the game.

“Bad calls happen—unfortunately it was bad timing for us in that point, but what can you do? You can’t go back and change anything. We’re pretty upset about that, but we can’t change that,” Johnson said.

The guest player also added that it was quiet in their dugout after the game, with everyone reflecting on how they can do better on their next game.

“It was quiet, but everyone’s reflecting—including myself. Of course we’re pissed and upset, but it’s not over yet. There’s another chance for us come Saturday,” she ended.

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Alyssa Valdez on Game One win: ‘We’re really eyeing our goal as a team’

In their opening match of the championship bout, team captain Alyssa Valdez said it was the breaks of the game that swung the odds to the defending champions.

The Creamline Cool Smashers drew first blood in their best-of-three title series after overpowering the Petro Gazz Angels in four sets, 24-26, 25-16, 25-16, 25-22, earlier in the 2019 PVL Reinforced Conference at the Filoil Flying V Center.

Losing hold of the opening set even after leading early, Creamline gained rhythm in the next two sets as they won convincingly for a two-set advantage.

Despite Petro Gazz playing more energetic in the first part of the fourth set, the Cool Smashers eventually adjusted and took the lead at the latter part, 23-20.

While the Angels scored two kills to close the gap, the defending champions eventually clinched two straight points, the last being a controversial overreaching call that Petro Gazz heavily contested.

The power trio of Kuttika Kaewpin, Aleoscar Blanco, and Valdez paved the way for Creamline with 21, 18, and 16 points respectively.

In that crucial last call of the match, Valdez said it was a judgment call by the officials and argued that the ball was on their side when Cherry Nunag touched the ball.

“Kung makikita naman natin sa replay, for me—kasi biased din ako sa tawag—nasa amin kasi talaga ‘yung bola. Kapag overreaching, hindi kami hinayaang maituloy ‘yung play namin. Inabot nila, so tinawagan ng call,” Valdez explained.

Given a controversial call to conclude the game, the Creamline team captain knows the Angels will surely bounce back in their next game.

“Crucial call, but it was a judgment call of the referees. I’m sure Petro Gazz has that motivation again to go back [and] the eagerness to win again—siyempre ayaw nilang natatalo sa ganyan,” she added.

Despite their initial struggle in the match, Valdez said she was proud of the team for keeping sight of their goal and encouraging each other to do their best—factors that contributed to their victory.

“Breaks of the game talaga—I think Petro Gazz is really experienced team with two of the best imports right now in the PVL. Masaya lang ako kasi kahit ganoon ‘yung nangyari, we’re really eyeing for our goal din talaga as a team,” Valdez said.

 

“Hangga’t hindi pa tapos ‘yung game, we keep on pushing each other, so naging maganda din ‘yung result,” she added.

Valdez and the Cool Smashers look to clinch their third straight championship in the league as they face the Angels in Game Two on Saturday.

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Nicole Tiamzon on comeback over Army: ‘Kailangan naming labanan ang frustration’

After dropping the first two sets in disappointing fashion, team captain Nicole Tiamzon knew the BanKo Perlas Spikers had nothing to lose in their first game of the bronze medal series.

RELATED – PVL: BanKo closes in to bronze after showing heart in epic comeback win over Army

Going all out from then on, the Perlas Spikers completed their comeback after surviving the Pacifictown Army Lady Troopers in five sets, 25-27, 10-25, 27-25, 26-24, 16-14, earlier in the 2019 PVL Reinforced Conference at the Filoil Flying V Center.

Drawing first blood in the series, BanKo came together and pulled off wins in the next two tightly-contested sets to force an extension.

Facing one deadlock after another, the Perlas Spikers held on at the latter part of the fifth set, winning the game after an attack error by Army ace Royse Tubino.

Five players scored double digits for BanKo, with Tiamzon leading the way with 18 points and Thai reinforcement Sutadta Chuewulim with 15.

The team captain admitted their frustration over their bad start, with the Perlas Spikers losing the hotly-contested first set and dropping the second set in lackluster fashion.

It was when BanKo started to take off the pressure that they started to gain rhythm, with Tiamzon adding that their frustration hindered them from performing at their best.

“We needed to get through it, ‘yung frustration nung first set na hindi namin nakuha and sa second set na hindi man lang kami nakaikot. Kailangan naming i-cut ulit iyon tapos mag-reset,” Tiamzon said.

 

“Kailangan naming labanan ‘yung frustration kasi kapag hindi namin nilabanan, kami rin ‘yung magha-hatakan pababa,” she added.

Despite their victory, Tiamzon knows the Perlas Spikers have so much to work on especially on their character inside the court, given that they barely escaped the Lady Troopers who gave them a hard time.

“Kung mapapansin niyo, come-from-behind lahat ng panalo, so talagang patibayan ng loob. Sabi namin, ibigay na natin lahat talaga kasi wala na rin namang mawawala sa atin,” Tiamzon said.

 

“Veteran team sila e, so we really expect na pukpukan kami for third place. Magta-training ulit kami kasi sobrang cardiac talaga ‘yung nangyari–kung kaya naming mauna, unahan na namin,” she added.

Tiamzon and the Perlas Spikers look to secure their third straight bronze medal finish in Game Two against Pacifictown Army on Saturday.

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By the numbers: Where do Creamline and Petro Gazz stand?

According to script, the Premier Volleyball League holds a finale everyone saw coming.

Deemed as the top two teams in the league, the Creamline Cool Smashers and the Petro Gazz Angels will battle it out in the championship round of the 2019 PVL Reinforced Conference.

Creamline and Petro Gazz swept their semifinal assignments to set their first meeting in the finals. As of now, the title showdown remains unpredictable as both teams pulled one over the other, with Petro Gazz emerging victorious in the first round and Creamline seeking revenge in the second round.

Before their gold medal clash tomorrow, FOX Sports PH revisits the elimination round performances of both teams to see where they stand.

FIRST ROUND STUNNER

In the opening weekend of the Reinforced Conference, the Angels established themselves as powerhouses after a stunning straight-set victory over the Cool Smashers. In the tightly contested game, Petro Gazz maintained poise and answered all of Creamline’s challenges.

This game became the introduction of Petro Gazz’s power duo Wilma Salas and Janisa Johnson who led the charge with 20 and 16 points respectively. It might be the unfamiliarity of the Cool Smashers with the Angels’ guest players, especially the hard-hitting Salas, that cost them.

The defending champions, meanwhile, saw no one scoring in double digits, with team captain Alyssa Valdez only scoring five points after being brought out of the game due to an injury. Venezuelan player Aleoscar Blanco led the team with nine points.

This match also turned out to be Chinese head coach Li Huanning’s first and last game for Creamline who seemed to struggle with the new system. After their loss, the team brought back their original head coach Tai Bundit, who led the squad to nine consecutive wins in the elimination round.

SECOND ROUND VENGEANCE

The Cool Smashers ultimately refused to leave their first round loss unavenged as they dismantled the Angels in four sets in their second round meeting. With another close game especially in the fourth set, it was the Cool Smashers who showed more hunger to win, tying their rivalry one game apiece.

Thai reinforcement Kuttika Kaewpin registered 18 points and a triple-double performance to lead her team, while Valdez rebounded from her previous performance against the Angels with 16 points.

Meanwhile, the Salas-Johnson duo delivered anew for Petro Gazz with 23 and 22 points respectively, with the latter recording a triple-double performance.

SUPPORTING CAST NEEDED

In order to clinch their first franchise championship in the PVL, the Angels need the local players to contribute more points, as their offensive arsenal is heavily anchored around their two foreign reinforcements.

Salas and Johnson emerged as the second and fourth best scorers of the league after the elimination round, registering 212 and 183 points respectively. To further emphasize the scoring gap, Petro Gazz’s next two top scorers Jeanette Panaga and Cherry Nunag have only scored 61 points each.

In contrast, Creamline has relatively displayed a more balanced scoring effort with both local players and foreign reinforcements carrying the load. Kaewpin finished as the top scorer for the Cool Smashers after the elimination round, finishing fifth in the league with 154 points. Valdez, meanwhile, is in tenth place with 120 points, followed by Blanco and Michele Gumabao who scored 104 and 54, respectively.

With the Cool Smashers also benefiting from the contributions of their bench players, it is safe to say that their supporting cast will be the most crucial cog in their quest to defend their title and establish a three-peat feat in the league.

CRUCIAL NET DEFENSE

While the blocking department hasn’t exactly been an area of dominance for both teams, it is the scoring skill that would make the biggest difference in the title series considering that both Petro Gazz and Creamline are heavily offensive-minded teams.

The Angels and the Cool Smashers dominated the spiking department at the end of the elimination round, placing first and second, respectively. Salas and Johnson have led the attacking realm, finishing as the top two best spikers with 47 and 46.22 percent spiking efficiency. Meanwhile, Kaewpin and Valdez placed third and sixth with 41.12 and 35.77 percent.

Given their offensive prowess, it is premium for both teams to step up in their net defense in order to stop or slow down as many attacks as possible. In comparison, Petro Gazz performed better than Creamline in blocking, with the former registering 75 kill blocks and averaging 2.34 per set and the latter with 51 kill blocks and averaging 1.5 per set.

ALL ABOUT THE FLOOR DEFENSE

In this title series where both teams show aggression both from the attack line and the service zone, it is imperative that their coverage be up to par. Both Creamline and Petro Gazz have two talented setters in Jia Morado and Djanel Cheng–their steady playmaking would only work with steady floor defense.

Both teams show prowess in digging—three players for each team placed in the top ten in the said department after the elimination round, with Johnson, Salas, and libero Cienne Cruz for Petro Gazz and Kaewpin, Valdez, and libero Kyla Atienza for Creamline.

As a team, the Cool Smashers performed slightly better with 14 average successful digs per set compared to the Angels’ 12.5 percent. Both teams benefited from their digging prowess with better transitions especially in long rallies.

In terms of reception, Petro Gazz has the skill wrapped around their fingers as they lead the competition with 43.13 percent efficiency. Salas, Johnson, and Cruz continue to deliver settable first balls for their squad.

In contrast, it is in the receiving department where the defending champions struggle the most. They place fourth in the league with 31.98 percent efficiency—only Kaewpin ended up in the top ten best receivers of the tournament, finishing as the top receiver with 49.34 percent.

For Petro Gazz to end up victorious in the title showdown, they need to remain steadfast in their floor defense. Meanwhile, it is a challenge for Creamline, especially for liberos Atienza and Melissa Gohing, to deliver better numbers in the final stretch of the season.

BACK TO ZERO

At the end of the day, elimination round statistics would no longer matter going into the championship round. It is a whole new ball game, with both teams having the opportunity to perform better and bigger to take home the prize.

With their very first finals meeting in the league, both teams have different plans—on one hand, the Cool Smashers look to continue their dominance and establish a three-peat, while the Angels aim to make history and clinch their first title in the league.

Both teams look to draw first blood in Game One of the best-of-three title series starting tomorrow at the Filoil Flying V Center.

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Winning championship “happily” ultimate goal for Creamline, says Alyssa Valdez

While defending their title continues to be the top priority for the Creamline Cool Smashers, team captain Alyssa Valdez says winning the crown happily remains the ultimate goal for the squad.

The Cool Smashers are one step closer to defending their crown after making quick work of the Pacifictown Army Lady Troopers in straight sets, 25-12, 25-18, 25-13, earlier in Game Two of the 2019 PVL Reinforced Conference semifinals at the Ynares Center Antipolo.

Experiencing a minor hiccup in the semifinal round after dropping a set to the Lady Troopers in the previous match, Creamline played dominantly today as they fired from all cylinders to take the game.

Valdez and guest player Kuttika Kaewpin led the way for the Cool Smashers with 11 and 12 points respectively.

With their semifinal victory earlier, Creamline enter the finals for the third straight time in the PVL as they look to establish a three-peat feat in the league.

While they aim to capture the crown, Valdez said the goal has always been to bring home glory happily and fight as a team.

“Start of the season pa lang, our goal is really to be in the finals. Actually, winning the championship is one of our goals, but winning it happily and really all together as a team, it’s really our ultimate goal,” Valdez said.

 

“We hope to learn no matter what happens in the finals–we’re going to stick together and fight as a team,” she added.

The team captain said she is proud of the team for their journey in this tournament, given the challenges that came their way.

Playing up against the tough Petro Gazz Angels in the finals, Valdez expressed excitement with the match-up knowing they finished the elimination round with one game apiece over the other.

She also anticipates the match-up with Wilma Salas, who she referred to as one of the best imports to have played in the country.

“It has been an interesting season but it’s going to be exciting in the finals kasi first time makakalaban ng Creamline ang Petro Gazz with one of the best imports na dumating dito sa atin, who is Wilma Salas,” Valdez said.

“We’re all excited to go up against Petro Gazz kasi we’re one and one–kumbaga bago dumating sa finals, we’re square,” she finished.

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Petro Gazz Angels to go all out in first finals stint

For the Petro Gazz Angels, a ticket to the championship round has been a long time coming.

Head coach Arnold Laniog expressed satisfaction with his team successfully booking their first finals stint after dismantling the BanKo Perlas Spikers in straight sets, 25-23, 25-18, 25-17, earlier in Game Two of the 2019 PVL Reinforced Conference semifinals at the Ynares Center Antipolo.

After a minor hiccup in the opening set with a close fight against the Perlas Spikers, the Angels regained form and made quick work of their opponents in the next two sets to take the win.

Laniog commended his players for a job well done, going back to their pre-conference team building sessions where they set their goal of booking a finals appearance for this tournament.

However, the head coach knows the work doesn’t stop there, knowing how the finals round is a whole new ball game.

“Iyong mga sacrifices ng mga players ko, nagbunga. Going back to our team building, ‘yung sinet namin na hopefully maabot ay going to the finals, pero sabi ko nga na once nandoon na kami, ibang usapan na talaga,” Laniog said.

 

“Na-reach na naman ‘yung target namin, but since nandito na kami, ibang usapan na iyon, kaya ibibigay na namin lahat to get the championship,” he added.

Foreign reinforcements Wilma Salas and Janisa Johnson, who topscored their team with 23 and 13 points respectively, expressed their excitement of getting their first championship stint in the country.

“I’m so excited because it’s my first time here and for this I feel more happy, but we only wait for the next game,” Salas said.

 

“We’ve been practicing and working hard all season for this moment and it’s here. Of course it’s not over yet, but we’re one step closer to what we’ve been actually working for this whole season,” Johnson added.

Despite a strong finish in the semifinal round, the Angels know they still have things to work on, particularly on minimizing their errors and maintaining focus.

Going to the final round, Johnson said Petro Gazz should hold on to their resiliency and efficiency, characters they have displayed all tournament long.

“We had ups and downs, and we knew what we had to do because this game was really important for us. So no matter what the score was, we always tried to keep pushing and if we’re behind, we kept giving more,” Johnson ended.

Photo credit: Petro Gazz Facebook page

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Character and focus important for Petro Gazz Angels after strong elimination round

With a dominant performance in the elimination round, the Petro Gazz Angels hope to bring the same level of play in the final stretch of the tournament.

The Angels successfully secured the top seed after making quick work of Motolite in straight sets, 25-19, 25-15, 25-15, earlier in the 2019 PVL Reinforced Conference at the Filoil Flying V Center.

Petro Gazz displayed their usual form and showed mastery of the game all throughout, blazing both in offense and defense from the get-go.

Foreign reinforcements Janisa Johnson and Wilma Salas led the way for the Angels with 15 and 14 points respectively amid a balanced scoring by 10 players.

With the win, Petro Gazz finished the elimination round as the top team with a 9-1 record tied with the Creamline Cool Smashers, only with a higher quotient.

The Angels played one of their strongest elimination round performances, only suffering a single loss this conference at the hands of defending champions Creamline.

After a strong first round, Johnson said it was inevitable for Petro Gazz to experience few bumps in the road.

“It was bound to happen. I mean, we had a moment of perfection but it’s part of the game. We had a loss, but we didn’t let that get the best of us, so we kept pushing. And we will keep going and going until hopefully the end,” Johnson said.

Head coach Arnold Laniog agreed with Johnson, stressing that their team only became stronger both physically and mentally as games passed.

“Nakita ng mga opponent namin ‘yung mga tendencies namin nung first round, kaya naka-adjust sila going into the second round. Natalo kami sa Creamline at nakunan kami ng mga set. But ‘yung mga ganoong bagay ay kailangan naming pagdaanan talaga para lalong matuto,” Laniog said.

With a whole new ball game going into the semifinal round, the head coach said it is important for the Angels to show character and maintain focus of their final goal.

“Mindset lang talaga; pinaka-importante is kung gaano namin kagusto kunin so naka-focus kami on how we play the game. Madali lang talaga manalo basta magperform nang maayos,” Laniog ended.

Petro Gazz is set to face fourth seed BanKo Perlas Spikers in the semifinal round starting on Wednesday.

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