Creamline rebounded from a five-set setback to Pocari Sweat with a 25-16, 26-24, 25-17 victory over Air Force to assure itself of a spot in the semifinals of the Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan on Thursday.
The Cool Smashers came out strong coming off that sorry setback to the Lady Warriors, blasting the Jet Spikers with their power game while cashing in on their rivals’ sloppy reception to fashion out the first straight-set victory in the short quarterfinal phase of the season-opening conference of the league organized by Sports Vision.
Alyssa Valdez fired 19 hits, including 14 attack points and four service aces, while Thai import Kuttika Kaewpin added 17 hits and Laura Schaudt scored three block hits for an eight-point output as Creamline joined early semifinalists BaliPure and the Power Smashers in the next round.
With a 2-1 card, Creamline is assured of a spot in the semis even if a three-way tie for first ensue among Pocari and Perlas, which are still playing at presstime.
A Perlas win will create a tie at 2-1 but Creamline will nail an automatic berth with a superior tiebreak although its ranking will only be determined after the Pocari-Perlas amtch.
A Pocari win, however, will send the Lady Warriors and the Cool Smashers to the next round with BaliPure taking on Creamline as No. 4 and the Power Smashers battling the defending champions in a pair of best-of-three series.
Iari Yong topscored for Air Force with seven hits, Mae Antipuesto and Jocemer Tapic each scored six points while Thai reinforcement Patcharee Saengmuang struggled for five points.
The Jet Spikers, who ended up with a 0-3 mark in the quarters, kept it close in the second set but Valdez unleashed back-to-back hits to shatter the 24-all count and make it 2-0 for Creamline on deuce points.
Air Force also threatened at 11-13 in the third but Creamline took nine of the next 11 points, including five straight hits, to pull away at 22-13 before Pau Soriano scored off the block to finish off the Jet Spikers.
Earlier, Army held off Instituto Estetico Manila, 25-16, 21-25, 25-15, 25-23, to clinch the fourth and last semifinal berth in the men’s side of the league backed by Mikasa and Asics.
As No. 4, the Troopers will face the top-seed Air Force Jet Spikers in tomorrow’s start of the semis with Cignal HD and Sta. Elena disputing the other finals slot in a pair of best-of-three series.