Games today: (PCV Socio-Civic & Cultural Center, Bacarra) 3 p.m. – Cignal vs Sta. Lucia 6 p.m. – Choco Mucho vs PLDT
DEFENDING champion Creamline overcame PetroGazz, 24-26, 28-26, 25-22, 25-20, for its second straight victory in the PVL Open Conference yesterday at the PCV Socio-Civic & Cultural Center in Bacarra, Ilocos Norte.
In the new chapter of their fierce rivalry interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Cool Smashers and the Angels, who split titles in 2019, went all out in one of the most anticipated match-ups in the bubble.
After dropping the first set, Creamline won the next three as skipper Alyssa Valdez found his rhythm, while getting a huge spark from substitute Tots Carlos.
The victory was a fitting birthday gift for coach Tai Bundit’s deputy Sherwin Meneses, who is temporarily handling the Cool Smashers while the veteran Thai coach is completing a 10-day quarantine.
“Siyempre PetroGazz ready din sila, recruitment nila maganda,” said Meneses, referring to their foes’ major off-season roster retool.
“Sana next time maganda ang laruin namin.”
Carlos, who entered the third set and finished with seven points, had a coming out party after the University of the Philippines standout played sparingly in Creamline’s four-set win over Sta. Lucia last Saturday.
“Actually lahat naman ng players is ready napag-usapan namin, konting adjustment lang ready na siya (Carlos) sa loob,” said Meneses.
“Tots naman always ready when we train namn alam nya din role niya as early as now alam niya lagi dapat handa. It’s very professional of her ganoon mentality niya. That’s why pag pinapasok sya gagawa talaga siya hindi lang para sa sarili niya” said Valdez, who paced the Cool Smashers with 16 points.
Jeanette Panaga had six blocks for a 15-point outing while Michele Gumabao followed up her 24-point outburst against the Lady Realtors with 12 markers. Setter Jia Morado tossed in 35 excellent sets.
Ces Molina took the scoring mantle for the Angels with 18 points, while middle blockers Remy Palma and Ria Meneses added 17 and 16, respectively.
PetroGazz, which had 14 blocks, fell to 1-1.
The match lived up to the billing, as the opening set was so intense that the Angels, whose solid blocking frustrated Valdez’s attacking game, barely won, thanks to Ces Molina’s back-to-back kills.
PetroGazz actually first reached set point, 24-23, but Creamline got a break after Myla Pablo committed a service error to extend the set.
The second set was equally thrilling, as the Cool Smashers avoided falling down to a 0-2 hole with Valdez delivering key kills and capitalizing on the Angels’ errors to level the match at one set apiece.
Valdez broke a 22-22 third set stalemate with a kill and a service ace before a Carlos hit closed it out to help Creamline build a 2-1 set lead.