PetroGazz has enough motivation come the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Open Conference next month.
Fresh off a breakthrough championship that saw the second-year team topple the favored and star-studded Creamline Cool Smashers, the Angels are out to prove their doubters wrong.
PetroGazz is for real, that Reinforced Conference conquest is no fluke.
"There’s a lot of bashers nga (na nanalo lang kami) because of the imports," said Angels coach Arnold Laniog on Tuesday during the squad's victory celebration at Kamayan-EDSA.
Laniog addressed that from the moment they pulled off one of the biggest upsets in the league - a come-from-behind, best-of-three Finals victory over the dethroned Cool Smashers - some thought that PetroGazz relied too much on their high-scoring imports Wilma Salas of Cuba and American Janisa Johnson.
Salas was named Best Import while Johnson got the Finals Most Valuable Player award.
Laniog wants his wards to use those criticisms to fuel their drive in the season-ending all-Filipino conference starting August 11.
"Challenge sa mga locals ‘to but yung na-gain namin na mental toughness and yung we’ll play by heart siguro malaking bagay talaga yun," said Laniog.
"Hindi kami nagsasabi ng tapos but magpe-perform kami on our best," the mentor vowed.
With at least three teams looking to join the fray in the race for the Open Conference title that Creamline will try to retain, the Angels are set to buckle down to work after a short rest.
"No room to relax kasi we got the championship so for the next conference, we know na may paparating din na new teams," said PetroGazz libero Cienne Cruz.
The Angels will retain its core bannered by Cruz, Jeanette Panaga, Cherry Nunag, Paneng Mercado, Jonah Sabete and Djanel Cheng.
Also back are Cai Baloaloa, Chie Saet, Alyssa Layug, Rica Enclona, Jovielyn Prado and Jessey De Leon.
"I guess yung experience din na nakuha namin this conference, we’ll bring it to the next conference especially yung determination ng mga local players and yung experience. Pagpapaguran talaga namin, we’ll work hard for that," added Cruz, the Open Conference's Best Libero last year.
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