Creamline showed depth and class as it smothered Chef’s Classics, 25-11, 25-14, 25-21, even without top hitter Alyssa Valdez as the Cool Smashers rolled to their ninth straight win in the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan on Saturday.
The power-hitting Valdez, who normed 18.2 points in powering the defending champions to a sweep of the first round elims, didn’t suit with an ankle injury she sustained during practice but the Cool Smashers got the job done just the same to duplicate their three-set romp over the league’s newcomers in the first round.
The victory stretched Creamline’s win run to nine at the start of its second round campaign while dealing Chef’s Classics its eighth straight defeat in a forgettable stint in the first phase of the double-round elims of the season-ending conference of the league organized by Sports Vision.
Fillet Cainglet-Cayetano stepped up to lead the Cool Smashers’ romp with nine attack points as coach Tai Bundit took the luxury of fielding in all his players in the 78-minute demolition.
Valdez, a many-time league MVP and tipped to spearhead the country’s campaign in the SEA Games late this year, was advised to rest for at least a week, forcing the former Ateneo star to likewise skip the national pool’s training in Thailand and the ASEAN Grand Prix serving as part of the squad’s buildup for the biennial meet on Nov. 30-Dec. 11.
Michele Gumabao and Jema Galanza added eight markers apiece while Risa Sato chipped in seven hits for the Coool Smashers.
“We’re happy to see our hard work during training pay off and it’s nice that all of us were able to play,” said playmaker Jia Morado, who put in a 28-excellent set effort in her final game for Creamline before joining the pool in Thailand. “I think everyone was able to pitch in and contribute.”
Bundit fielded his bench early in the third set to rest his starters, enabling the Red Spikers to keep the game close, only to bow out in the face of the Cool Smashers power and experience.
Nieza Viray and Jinggay Bangad scored eight and six points, respectively, for Chef’s Classics.
Meanwhile, Motolite and Choco Mucho hope to close out their first round campaign on a winning note as they collide today (Sunday) at 2 p.m., also at the San Juan arena.
BanKo-Perlas and BaliPure, on the other hand, start their second round drive in the tournament backed by Mikasa, Asics and KFC, at 4 p.m. with the former (5-3) seeking to duplicate its scary five-set escape over the latter (2-6).
While Motolite is coming off a five-set win over BanKo-Perlas last Wednesday to move to joint second with PetroGazz, Choco Mucho is reeling from a four-game skid, including back-to-back five-set defeats to PetroGazz and Air Force to fall to joint sixth with Air Force at 2-5.