Oliver Almadro, the Petro Gazz coach, is aware of the low batting average he has when facing this formidable enemy.
“I have never taken it personally,” Almadro told the Inquirer over the phone in a serious tone after practice on Monday, referring to a 2-12 lifetime record he has against Creamline while handling a total of three different teams. “I also keep telling my team the same, for them to block out the noise.”
Almadro and his Angels on Tuesday have the chance to block out the fancied Cool Smashers in Game 2 of the Premier Volleyball League All-Filipino Conference Finals, but the outspoken coach is not putting pressure on his crew to apply the broom.
“Right now we have a chance to take it,” Almadro went on. “But I asked them not to be excited, not to be overwhelmed. Those (2-12 stat, the crowd on Creamline’s side) are distracting factors. That’s why we need to block out the noise.” Petro Gazz and Creamline take the Mall of Asia Arena floor at 6:30 pm on Tuesday after F2 Logistics also shoots to sweep PLDT in the battle for the bronze that has equally been exciting.
Almadro also dismissed fears that relentless attacker Jonah Sabete won’t be 100-percent for the potential title-clinching match.
Sabete needed to hit the bench in the fourth frame on Sunday after cramping up in the fourth set of a 25-22, 24-26, 25-23, 26-24 Game 1 win, but the Petro Gazz coach said that she won’ t be feeling the effects of that on Tuesday.
“She’s always played all-out, that’s why,” Almadro said, before adding, with a chuckle: She doesn’t know how to pace herself and we are used to her playing that way. I don’t know how she manages it because today (at practice), she didn’t show signs of it and she was again all-out.”
Creamline’s Sherwin Meneses, meanwhile, said that breaks of the game did his Cool Smashers in last Sunday. But he also is asking his charges to play better.
Too many boo-boos
“There were breaks that didn’t go our way,” Meneses said in Filipino. “But we didn’t entirely lose because of that, we also had our lapses and a lot of errors.”
Creamline committed 22 blunders in the high-wire series opener, the last of which being a Jia de Guzman net violation challenged by Almadro that went on to clinch the game for the Angels.“Everyone was sad after the game, of course,” Meneses went on. “[But] the minds and hearts of our players are strong, so I hope to bounce back on Tuesday.”
Creamline hasn’t lost Game 1 of the title series since 2019 in the Reinforced Conference, and it was all because Petro Gazz was attacking at will and its defense forced the Cool Smashers out of their comfort zones.
Almadro is hoping for a repeat of that.
“The chance (to win the title) is all that we prayed and worked for,” he said. “Whichever game it takes us to do that, we will take it—but we still have to work hard for it.”
A religious person who graduated from Letran, Almadro wants one of the Bible’s most compelling stories to be their guide here.
“I want us to be David,” Almadro said. “I want them (Angels) to defy the odds—we want that David mentality out there.
“Because Creamline is the Goliath we need to slay.” INQ
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