PetroGazz proved its doubters wrong that the Angels are all just about their high-scoring, hard-hitting duo of Cuban Wilma Salas and American Janisa Johnson.
Salas and Johnson logged in their usual numbers, but PetroGazz unleashed another weapon in its arsenal with middles Cherry Nunag and Jeanette Panaga delivering the goods in the Angels’ four-set win over BanKo to draw first blood in the best-of-three Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Reinforced Conference Final Four.
“Dati pa namin talaga pinupukpok eh. Di naman kami nagpapaapekto sa mga bashers kasi normal naman. Kasi the more na nananalo ka, tumataas, the more na lumalabas ang mga bashers,” said PetroGazz Arnold Laniog following his squad’s 25-19, 25-15, 21-25, 25-12, victory.
“Totoo talaga, we have good imports. We have percentage imports but talagang kailangan din namin ang locals which is yung dalawang middles. Alam din namin na kaya nilang mag-deliver,” added Laniog. “So from training talagang pin-push namin sila. Binibigyan namin ng overload talaga para pagdating talaga sa game kailangang maka-gain ng respect kami sa mga middle blockers.”
Nunag backed Salas’ 25 points and Johnson’s 23 markers with 12 points built on nine attacks, two kill blocks and an ace. Two-time Best Middle Blocker winner Panaga scored nine with six coming off aces.
“Sabi ko nga yung BanKo is no. 1 sa blocking because of [Yasemin] Yildirim and [Kathy] Bersola but since wala si Yildirim sabi ko kay Cherry and Panaga, ‘it’s your time to dominate the middle attack dahil wala na si Yildirim,’” said Laniog.
The mentor was particularly impressed with Nunag’s performance.
“Luckily naman nagawa kanina ni Cherry but not totally in attack but yung blocking niya sa spikers ng kalaban kumbaga nagawa niya. Mission accomplished siya doon,” he said.
However, Nunag stressed that she still has a lot to improve on.
“OK naman pero feeling ko mayroon pa akong kailangang i-adjust, medyo kulang pa. Push pa kami para sa second game,” said Nunag. “Also ako tatag pa sa blocking kasi medyo kulang pa.”
Game 2 of the semis is on Saturday at the Ynares Sports Center in Antipolo.
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