CREAMLINE used its vast experience to upend sister team Choco Mucho, 23-25, 25-19, 25-18, 25-15, and secure the first finals berth in the PVL Open Conference at the full-house Mall of Asia Arena yesterday.
Tots Carlos capped a scintillating semifinals showing with 23 points, including three service aces, and five receptions to lead the Cool Smashers in completing a two-match sweep.
The Flying Titans were barely able to steal the opening set, but could not get their game going in the next three to end their bid for a breakthrough championship appearance.
“Thankful kami kasi naka-recover kami doon sa first set kasi medyo kinapos yung habol namin sa first set. Yung maturity ng Creamline, nandiyan palagi iyan, kasi yung chemistry is okay na.
Naglalaro kami ng maayos at nakuha namin ang panalo,” said coach Sherwin Meneses.
Jema Galanza added 18 points and 15 digs while skipper Alyssa Valdez scored 17 points, including the match-winner for the Cool Smashers.
With every nook and cranny filled at the Mall of Asia Arena, Valdez was very delighted to return to the site of her many personal triumphs in the UAAP and PVL.
“I’m very happy for the sport itself,” said Valdez, who last played at the Pasay venue in June 2018 where the Cool Smashers won the Reinforced Conference crown.
“It is so nice that it is probably one of the biggest comebacks in the sport na nandito tayong lahat sa MoA Arena. I’m so thankful, no matter kung sino ang iniidolo nila. Kung sino ang sinusuportahan nila, we are so thankful for all of them sa ibinibigay nila,” she added.
Creamline will face the winner of the other semis pairing between Cignal HD and PetroGazz in the best-of-three title series starting Wednesday at the same Pasay venue.
The Cool Smashers are gunning for their third Open Conference crown – and fourth overall since joining the PVL in 2018.
Meneses credited his predecessor Tai Bundit for molding Creamline as what it is right now despite the arrival of the new clubs in the now professional league.
“Knowing coach Tai naman, lagi naman siyang nandiyan para sa amin,” said Meneses.
The Cool Smashers pulled away from a 7-7 standoff in the fourth to build a 14-7 lead and the Flying Titans countered with a 5-0 run to trim down the deficit to 12-14.
Valdez then took charge to give Creamline the needed separation and douse any hopes for Choco Mucho to turn things around.
Kat Tolentino led the Flying Titans with 14 points, including three blocks, while Desiree Cheng also had three blocks for a 13-point outing.
Earlier, deposed champion Chery Tiggo outlasted Army-Black Mamba, 25-15, 25-20, 20-25, 23-25, 15-12, to remain in contention for the seveth place.
Dindin Santiago-Manabat delivered a season-high 32 points built on 26 attacks, three aces, and three blocks to go with 11 receptions in the Crossovers’ first match since being dethroned by the Cool Smashers in the quarterfinals.
Mylene Paat was also solid for Chery Tiggo with 22 points, including two blocks, and 20 digs.