Creamline Cool Smashers gain share of PVL leadership
Creamline got back at PetroGazz in stirring fashion, banking on strong starts in the first and three sets and checking a late meltdown in the fourth with a big finish to carve out a 25-18, 21-25, 25-19, 26-24 victory and gain a share of the lead in the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Reinforced Conference before a crowd at the Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan last night.
In a match that featured sharp spikes, quick hits, spectacular saves and long rallies between the league’s top teams, the Cool Smashers turned a late collapse with a big windup with Alyssa Valdez anchoring the victory with two hits, including a match-clinching kill that hit and fell in the arms of PetroGazz import Janisa Johnson.
The win thus avenged Creamline’s straight-set defeat to PetroGazz in the opener last May 26 and Valdez’s late-game exploits more than made up for her abbreviated stint in that match that saw her suffer an ankle injury after a bad fall late in the second set.
The victory likewise stretched the Cool Smashers’ win run to seven following that early loss while stopping the Angels’ own streak at seven for joint lead heading to the last three playdates of the double-round elims of the season-opening conference of the league organized by Sports Vision.
The two teams have actually secured the top two spots in the crossover semis but still slugged it out from opening serve to the final hit to the delight of the big weekend crowd.
Overcoming a shaky start in the fourth, Creamline pulled ahead by four on a Kuttika Kaewpin push that made it 19-17 for the Cool Smashers. But the Angels proved far from being finish, racking up six points against their rivals’ two to force a standoff at 21.
PetroGazz then took the lead at 24-21 on a Jeanette Panaga second ace and the Angels looked headed to forcing a deciding set only to crack in the face of the defending champions’ strong comeback. Panaga’s third serve actually sailed long and Ale Blanco and Valdez foiled Cai Baloaloa’s attack and Creamline forced a deuce at 24 on Valdez’s checkball hit.
The Cool Smashers regained the lead on a Johnson’s attack error from the backrow then clinched the highly emotional win on a patented Valdez power hit.
Earlier, Motolite battled back from two sets down and outhit BaliPure in a tense-filled endgame, hacking out a 23-25, 23-25, 25-14, 25-14, 15-12 decision to bolster its own semifinal bid in the tournament sponsored by Mikasa, Asics and KFC.