MANILA, Philippines — New-look Petro Gazz was as good as advertised with Brooke Van Sickle making a rousing debut on the Philippine soil on Sunday.
Behind Van Sickle, Petro Gazz torched Army, 25-11, 25-19, 25-19, in the Philippine National Volleyball Federation (PNVF) Champions League at Rizal Memorial Coliseum.
Van Sickle, the Angels’ newest recruit from the United States, poured in 16 points on 14-of-27 attacks, one block, and an ace to dispatch the veteran Lady Troopers in just 81 minutes.
The former US NCAA standout out of the University of Hawaii was excited in her first game in Manila, crediting her impressive debut to the support and guidance of her teammates.
“There were butterflies [in my stomach] before the game. But my teammates are super supportive and you know I feel like we’re doing very well, we’re getting chemistry as a team together, slowly and slowly. It was a good day for us,” Van Sickle told reporters.
Petro Gazz’s new coach Koji Tsuzurabara also made a winning debut as Djanel Cheng ran the plays of the veteran Japanese tactician, leading to the collective effort of the Angels with Nicole Tiamzon chipping in nine points as a starter, returning spiker Myla Pablo adding eight points coming off the bench, and KC Galdones contributing seven.
“I said to the players before the game (to) have fun (together with) each other. Today is my first game (as a coach),” said Tsuzurabara. “Brooke is good. She also had her game (here for the) first time. So she has to understand the atmosphere in Philippine volleyball, (with) opponents, spectators.”
Van Sickle said the new-look team is still adjusting under the new system of their Japanese coach but she is excited to unlock their full potential before the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) season.
“It’s new for me and all the girls. He’s a super great coach and he’s definitely pushing our mental capacity in the gym, which is just gonna show great things on the court. I’m just excited to see how we develop as a team and he’s giving us good stuff,” said the Filipino-American hitter.
Petro Gazz eyes its second win against Cignal on Monday at 6 p.m., while Army seeks to bounce back against the defending champion College of Saint Benilde at 3:30 p.m.
Nene Bautista was the lone bright spot for the Lady Troopers. Jovelyn Gonzaga, who was part of the Army lineup, didn’t see action.