PETRO Gazz sent Iriga-Navy crashing back to earth in straight sets, 25-21, 25-19, 25-17, to jumpstart its second-round campaign on a high note in the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Open Conference on Saturday at the Arena in San Juan City.
Coming off a three-week hiatus playing their last game on October 13 against Adamson-Akari, the Angels resumed their quest ending the two-game winning streak of the Lady Oragons, who swept their back-to-back assignments last week.
Paneng Mercado provided the firepower and nailed four of the last seven points in the third set to boost the semifinals chances of Petro Gazz, which is now at fourth place with an improved 5-3 win-loss record.
Mercado dropped 20 points off 16 kills, three service aces and a block. Kai Baloaloa had 11 spikes and four blocks for 15 hits, while veteran playmaker Chie Saet was also instrumental with 20 excellent sets as well as libero Cienne Cruz, who had 21 digs and 11 excellent receptions.
“Well syempre inaanticipate natin may mga bago silang players so talagang tinutukan natin sina (Nene) Bautista. Yun nag prepare tayo for them,” said Petro Gazz Head Coach Jerry Yee after overcoming Iriga-Navy, which was powered by its new players from Army.
“Buti nga nakuha na natin itong win na ito so the more wins na makuha natin the earliest, maka puhunan tayo,” he added.
After convincingly winning the first two sets, Angels were only leading by a point in the third 15-14, before substitute Rachel Austero scored all her six points in the set.
Austero scored four in a row to pull away with a 21-14 lead before Mercado closed out the match.
Petro Gazz will continue its second round campaign on Wednesday against Pocari Sweat-Air Force (4-5).
Joanne Bunag had 18 points including 15 digs, while Grazielle Bombita delivered 11 markers but Nene Bautista was the missing piece after being limited to only two markers failing to save the Lady Oragons’ two-game winning streak falling to a 3-8 record.
Iriga-Navy only have less than 24 hours to regroup as it battles league leader Ateneo-Motolite (8-2) on Sunday, 6:30 p.m., at the same venue.