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Sunday, April 21, 2024

Petrogazz, Creamline seek finals seats

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PetroGazz and Creamline set out for a repeat of their Game One feats, armed with firepower and momentum that BanKo-Perlas and PacificTown Army need to neutralize to avert what had long shaped up to be a blockbuster finale in the Premier Volleyball League Reinforce Conference.

The country’s leading players and eight imports with contrasting styles bring their act to the Ynares Sports Center in Antipolo today (Saturday) with the Angels and the Cool Smashers all primed up to sweep their respective semifinal face-offs and head to the series that they had virtually wrapped after a dominant campaign in the double-round elims.

The Angels proved that they aren’t just a Wilma Salas-Janisa Johnson team as locals Cherry Nuñag and Jeanette Panaga put up a pair of solid games to backstop their high-scoring imports in repeating over the Perlas Spikers, 25-19, 25-15, 21-25. 25-12, in the opener of their Final Four series last Wednesday.

Nuñag finished with 12 points, highlighted by a number of quick hits, while Panaga came up with nine markers, spiced up by six aces. Steph Mercado, Jonah Sabete, Djanel Cheng and Relea Saet also combined for 10 points to more than underscore the Angels’ depth and cohesion.

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The power-hitting Salas from Cuba and American Johnson sustained their form that anchored the team’s 9-1 stint in the elims, combining for 48 points, with the duo tipped to further raise the level of their play when they take on the Perlas Spikers again at 2 p.m.

But BanKo remains unfazed by PetroGazz, hopeful its new import in Stiix Horton would settle down after an 11-point, nine-dig debut Wednesday.

“No pressure, just (here) to have fun,” said the 5-10 Horton. “I hope on Saturday (today), it will be a better game.”

The Lady Troopers also look to do better against the Cool Smashers in their 4 p.m. showdown although Jenelle Jordan will have to step up and produce more points after a 10-point effort in their 24-26, 21-25, 25-23, 20-25 defeat to the defending champions.

Olena Lymareva-Flink of Ukraine came away with a 31-hit game that still proved not enough to power PacificTown Army against a team that boasts of too much firepower in imports Kuttika Kaewpin of Thailand and Ale Blanco of Venezuela and locals Alyssa Valdez, Risa Sato, Michele Gumabao and Jema Galanza.

“It’s very disappointing but we will just step up and we will go from that (defeat),” said Lymareva-Flink, who also had four aces and two kill blocks.

But the Cool Smashers’ skipper said they still have so much to offer that could only spell more trouble for the embattled Lady Troopers.

“We’re really looking forward to further improve our game,” said Valdez, who put in 12 points, eight digs and eight excellent receptions as the crowd favorites extended their win run to 10, including a nine-game romp in the elims of the season-opening conference of the league organized by Sports Vision and sponsored by Mikasa, Asics and KFC.

“I think our streak is a testament to our hard work (in practice) but it doesn’t mean that we’re 100 percent of what we aim to be and what we aim for,” added Valdez.

The matches will be aired live on S+A Channel 23 and can be viewed live via streaming on sports.abs-cbn.com/livestream/pvl.

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