The morning after their triumphant campaign in the Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference, the Creamline Cool Smashers are plotting their next move this early, wanting to get into the next line of battle armed to the teeth.
Though the Open Conference won’t come until late in the season, the Cool Smashers want to prepare early and enter the fray a more cohesive unit for less pressure, having hurdled the block leading to the team’s first-ever championship after two third place finishes.
“I think this first championship will always be the most memorable or stepping stone for us to be more inspired and motivated as we go for our bigger goals as a team,” said Creamline top hitter Alyssa Valdez after leading the Cool Smashers to a sweep of the PayMaya High Flyers in their best-of-three series at the MOA Arena last Wednesday.
A winner many times over, during her collegiate days and in the defunct V-League Reinforced Conference in 2015, Valdez considers her triumph with Creamline the turning point in her career.
“I really don’t know but it feels so good winning our championship this conference,” she said.
As her wont, Valdez anchored Creamline’s title romp with 19 points built on 15 kills, three aces and a kill block. Michele Gumabao and Thai import Kuttika Kaepwin added 12 markers each while American reinforcement Laura Schaudt had nine.
The team also drew solid performance from playmaker Jia Morado, who tallied 29 excellent sets and went on to bag the Finals MVP trophy after norming 8.7 excellent sets per frame in their sweep of the championship.
Valdez also took notice of their proven partnership with Morado, who played together
Valdez and Morado’s partnership goes way back during their college days in Ateneo de Manila University. The duo played together for the Lady Eagles for three years.
Winning the crown was actually a “must” for a side which underwent tremendous buildup during the off-season. The Creamline management beefed up its roster by adding Michelle Gumabao, Melissa Gohing and a solid middle in Risa Sato, who moved to the Cool Smashers after helping BaliPure win the Open Conference last year.
“I think the pressure was on us to win as a team and of course, on the management. Because winning a championship means you have to improve as a team,” said Valdez. “Getting the first win, it’s really tough. And I believe it would get tougher in our next attempt since we also have to challenge ourselves if we can still improve and what would motivate us to play our best and win each game.”
But with an intact roster, long preparation and solid management support, the Cool Smashers can stay hot and in line for another shot at the championship.