• 4 ‘rubbers’ up in PVL Final Four

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    This couldn’t get any better.

    The Premier Volleyball League winds up its tight semifinal round with not just one or two rubber matches but four, guaranteeing high powered action in both the men’s and women’s sides at the Philsports Arena in Pasig today.

    Creamline completed the rare semis blockbuster card with a tough 24-26, 25-18, 18-25, 25-16, 16-14 win over top seed BaliPure late Tuesday, blowing a huge lead in the stretch in the fifth but fighting back from deuce points to stay in the hunt for a finals berth in the season-opening conference of the league organized by Sports Vision.

    Pocari import Michelle Strizak goes one-on-one against the Power Smashers’ Kannika Tipachot, firing away a kill during their semifinals duel with the Power Smashers in the PVL Reinforced Conference on Tuesday. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

    They dispute the first final seat at 4 p.m.

    Alyssa Valdez scored on an off-the-block hit and Pau Soriano swatted an attack by American Jennifer Keddy to shatter a 14-all count and enable the fourth-ranked Cool Smashers to salvage the match after squandering a 12-8 lead.

    American Laura Schaudt and Thai Kuttika Kaewpin kept Creamline’s bid majority of the way until Keddy charged back with five straight points as the Water Defenders seized the lead at 14-13.

    But Kaewpin hammered in a kill to force a deadlock, fueling the Cool Smashers’ furious endgame fightback.

    Kaewpin chalked up 23 points and 17 digs, Schaudt contributed 22 markers while Valdez wound up with 15 hits for Creamline, which negated the 13 blocks of BaliPure, including seven from Keddy, as against the Cool Smashers’ eight.

    Alex Cabanos also kept Creamline’s play going as she dished out all but out of the team’s 41 excellent sets.

    Keddy unloaded 23 points, Grethcel Soltones logged 16 markers and Jerrili Malabanan added 10 hits for the Water Defenders, who took Game One of their best-of-three series in four.

    Earlier, the Power Smashers rallied to stop the Pocari Sweat Lady Warriors, 24-26, 22-25, 25-18, 25-23, 15-13, to likewise send their own semis series into a decider. They clash at 6:30 p.m.

    The Final Four in the men’s side of the league backed by Mikasa and Asics also goes down to a pair of deciding games as second seed Cignal HD got back at Sta. Elena and came up with a 25-17, 25-19, 25-22 victory and No. 1 Air Force stopped Army with a 25-17, 25-18, 25-20 romp.

    Air Force and Army kick off the four-match thriller at 10 a.m. while Cignal HD and Sta. Elena dispute the other final seat at 1 p.m.

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