Cool Smashers closing in on to finals, clip Angels’ wings


ILOCOS NORTE – Creamline showed nerves of steel to foil Petro Gazz, 27-29, 25-23, 16-25, 25-17, 16-14, on Sunday to move a victory away from the finals of the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference at the PCV Socio-Civic Cultural Center here.
Tots Carlos, earning a starting spot for her fine performance in the elimination, anchored the top-ranked Cool Smashers’ third come-from-behind triumph in as many games, coming away with 23 hits, including all but one of the team’s last five points in a decider that could have gone either way.

They included a kill that shattered a 13-all count.

After the Angels lived for another point on a Creamline net violation, Carlos banged in the last of her power shots, and then Jema Galanza delivered the clincher on a Petro Gazz unsound reception to end a riveting match that kicked off the Final Four of the country’s first pro volleyball league.

It was a sorry setback for the No. 4 Angels, who outwitted the Cool Smashers in a thrilling first-set escape that saw them buck a nine-point difference in attacks and a couple of three-point deficits by pouncing on their rivals’ miscues ball(12).

Petro Gazz then countered Creamline’s victory in the second set with another gritty performance in the third but hardly found an answer to Alyssa Valdez’s power and the Cool Smashers’ fiery comeback in the fourth.

So intense was the match that two yellow cards were issued to both teams for minor misconduct in the course of their heated match.

Valdez did what she does best, uncorking a 22-attack game for 25 points, while Galanza scored 16 points and Michele Gumabao produced 13 points in another three-set outing for Creamline, which drew 37 excellent sets from Jia Morado.

Four Angels turned in double-digit outputs with Myla Pablo overshadowing Valdez’s output with 26 points and Ces Molina pounding in 17 points, including key on the run hits, and Gretchel Soltones and Remy Palma chipping in 10 points each for Petro Gazz, which scored 35 points off its rival’s unforced errors.

Creamline, which also rallied past Choco Mucho and Perlas after trailing after three sets and which ruled this event in the then semi-pro PVL in 2019 before the pandemic disrupted play in 2020, seeks to ride on the momentum of its yet another scrambling victory as it shoots for the finals in Game 2 of their best-of-three series today (Monday).

“Tots has been very aggressive not only in terms of attacking but also inside the court,” said Valdez of Creamline’s new recruit who bagged the game’s best player honors. “She brings energy inside and outside the court.”

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