Fancied Creamline seeks to formalize its stint in the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference semifinals in faraway Iloilo today (Saturday) as it faces a sister team trying to sustain its own late Final Four drive at the University of San Agustin gym.
Iloilo City has been a regular stop of the PVL with another sellout crowd expected when the Cool Smashers stake their unbeaten 11-0 slate against the surging Flying Titans at 4 p.m. of another explosive out-of-town twinbill in the season-ending conference of the league organized by Sports Vision.
PetroGazz, which stunned Creamline to capture the Reinforced Conference crown early in the season, also puts its remarkable seven-game run on the line against PacificTown Army at 2 p.m.
Though the star-studded Cool Smashers are tipped to repeat their four-set triumph over the Flying Titans last August 31, the latter have shown tremendous improvement and promise after snapping a long skid with a scrambling five-set escape over Chef’s Classics then beating BaliPure, BanKo-Perlas, PacificTown Army and Motolite to bounce back into semis contention.
They remain outside of the Magic Four with a 6-6 card but their recent surge has bolstered their chances to grab at least a playoff for the last semis slot with Motolite and BanKo-Perlas just ahead at joint third with 7-5 slates and PacificTown Army at fifth with a 6-5 mark. PetroGazz is a cinch to clinch the second semis seat with an 8-2 mark.
But Choco Mucho’s vaunted triple town combination of Kat Tolentino, Maddie Madayag and Bea de Leon must come up with one solid game to neutralize Creamline’s vaunted firepower anchored on Alyssa Valdez, Michele Gumabao, Jema Galanza and Risa Sato.
Focus will also be on the Angels-Lady Troopers clash with the former, bannered by Jonah Sabete, Jeanette Panaga, Paneng Mercado, Jovielyn Prado and Cai Baloaloa, out to duplicate their straight-set romp over the latter last August 28.
But the veteran-laden Army side is also itching to rebound from a sorry five-set setback to Choco Mucho the last time out with Royse Tubino, Jovelyn Gonzaga, MJ Balse-Pabayo, Nene Bautista, Luth Malaluan and Jem Gutierrez expected to lead the charge and firm up their own semis bid.
Meanwhile, Creamline and PetroGazz also brace for a fiery clash next Sunday when they meet again in Bacolod with PacificTown and BanKo-Perlas providing the appetizer in what promises to be another thriller of a twinbill in the league backed by Mikasa, Asics and KFC.