Creamline bucked the absence of ace player Alyssa Valdez and survived the Power Smashers, 25-22, 25-21, 25-22, to secure the first semifinal berth in the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference at the Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan last night.
The Cool Smashers pulled through in a back-and-forth opening set, rallied from four down in the stretch to steal the second then unleashed another strong finishing kick in the third to complete the straight set win, its fifth in row.
Creamline thus booked the first slot in the Final Four, moving two wins from sweeping the single round elims of the mid-season conference of the league organized by Sports Vision. The Cool Smashers play with the UP Lady Maroons on Saturday before closing out their campaign against the Perlas-BanKo Spikers on July 30.
Pau Soriano provided the leadership and power in the absence of Valdez, currently training with the national team in Japan, for the Cool Smashers, coming away with 15 hits, including three straight to close out the match.
Like in the second frame, the Cool Smashers battled back from 18-21 down in the third with Soriano anchoring the team’s romp with three straight power hits in the middle.
Rosemarie Vargas matched Soriano’s output while Coleen Bravo stepped up to fire 13 points for the Cool Smashers, who outhit their rivals, 53-39, in their 77-minute encounter, while Jia Morado came through with 62 excellent sets for Creamline, twice more than counterpart Vira Guillema, who had 25.
It was a sorry loss for the Power Smashers, who dished out three solid starts only to crumble in the face of the Cool Smashers’ fightback and reeled to their fourth loss against a lone victory.
Jovelyn Prado also scored 15 hits while Regine Arocha and Ann Esguerra added 10 and nine markers, respectively, for the Power Smashers.
Meanwhile, newcomer Mega Builders proved its real worth, upending Cignal TV in a duel of unbeaten teams, 26-24, 26-24, 25-17, to nail the first semis berth with a 5-0 card in the men’s side of the league backed by Mikasa and Asics.
Bryan Bagunas fired 17 hits while Kim Malabunga, Fauzi Ismail and James Natividad combined for 34 points as the Volley Bolt survived back-to-back set victories on deuce points before wearing down the HD Spikers in the third to complete the stunning 73-minute victory.
Air Force thus tied Cignal at 4-1 after the Jet Spikers rallied from two sets down to edge the Instituto Estetico Manila Volley Masters, 13-25, 23-25, 25-20, 25-22, 16-14, in the other match. IEM fell to 2-3.