MANILA, Philippines – Petro Gazz has got new coach Timmy Sto. Tomas made a winning professional debut after debuting in Galeries, 25-11, 26-24, 25-22, during the 2023 Premier Volleyball League (PVL) All-Filipino Conference on Tuesday night at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Grethcel Soltones powered the Angels with a game-high 19 points on top of 14 digs and 10 receptions as they staved off the challenge of the newest PVL team in the final two sets before gaining the upper hand in an hour and 34 minutes.
“We are still missing a lot of things that coach Timmy wants us to do. It should be a simple volleyball, but we made it difficult for ourselves,” Soltones said in Filipino after landing 17 attacks, one ace and a block.
After a dominant opening set, the Angels had to fight back from a 20-22 deficit in the second set when Dimdim Pacres came off the bench to provide the Highrisers with energy. A pair of mistakes allowed Petro Gazz to take set point, 24-23, but Pacres only saved a point for Carly Hernandez to miss her serve, followed by Ranya Musa’s set-clinching hit for a 2-0 lead.
The Angels pulled away in the third with a 17-10 margin, but the Highrisers leaned on Roma Joy Doromal and Audrey Paran to cut the lead to three, 23-20. Marian Buitre stopped the bleeding and reached match point, 24-20, before Anne Esguerra and Paran saved two points.
However, Soltones refused to extend the game as she ended it with a huge kill.
“I am very happy that we were able to achieve the victory, despite the problems during the second to third sets of the match. They were able to go one step further during the last part of the match,” said Sto. Tomás.
“The pressure is always there, but I’m lucky to have these kind of players (Aiza Maizo-Pontillas), Grethcel, Chie (Saet) and Djanel Cheng, so the whole bunch are very supportive of each other. That is our culture.”
Aiza Maizo-Pontillas scored 10 points, while Jonah Sabete and KC Galdones added 10 markers, while setter Djanel Cheng dished out 15 excellent sets.
No one from Galeries scored in double figures as Paran had eight points, while Doromal, Esguerra and Raprap Aguilar added seven markers each.