UNBEATEN Creamline expects to hurdle another winless rival in preparation for a three-game grind against teams stacked with talents as Cignal tries to recover lost grounds against surging Akari side in the Premier Volleyball League All-Filipino Conference eliminations at the Filoil EcoOil Arena in San Juan Tuesday.
Coming off a pair of 3-0 victories over the HD Spikers and Gerflor Defenders, the Cool Smashers try to sustain their drive back to the top of the record field on a team that continues to get better and stronger despite the loss of two key anchors of its champion squad.
Creamline faces Farm Fresh at 4 p.m. after the 2 p.m. opener between Chery Tiggo and Gerflor. Cignal and Akari mix it up at 6 p.m.
Games can be streamed on Pilipinas Live and PVL.ph and are telecast on One Sports, One Sports+ and Smart Livestream app, according to the organizing Sports Vision.
“The opportunity to play is very important, our bench players are also out first 6,” said Creamline coach Sherwin Meneses in underscoring the team’s depth. “We are now looking at what is best for the team.”
“It’s a good problem for us coaches, but we still have to play consistent to be able to dish out good games,” added Meneses, whose wards will face Petro Gazz on November 9, F2 Logistics on November 14 and PLDT on November 18.
Three games into her full role as playmaker in place of Jia de Guzman, Kyle Negrito has come up with 47 excellent sets, shining most in their four-set win over the Choco Mucho Flying Titans where she produced 23.
Lorie Bernardo has also started to feel her way in the middle, providing backup to Pangs Panaga and Risa Sato, while collegiate aces Bea Bonafe and Mafe Galanza hope to settle down in time while forming Creamline’s setting trio alongside Negrito.
With Michele Gumabao taking over on the firing end with a couple of 20-point and 12-hit outputs, and Tots Carlos, Jema Galanza and Alyssa Valdez ready to step up at any given time, the Foxies will need the best of everything—and luck—to stop or at least slow down the Cool Smashers in Week 3 of the round-robin eliminations of the tournament backed by Mikasa, BingoPlus, ArenaPlus, Smart, Rebisco, Milcu, Kumu, Asics and SportRadar
Farm Fresh actually showed some promise when it upstaged Akari in the first set in their recent duel but lost its poise in a protracted second frame battle and yielded the next two to fall to 0-4.
But the Foxies are never losing hope with Trisha Tubu, who sizzled with a 24-hit blast against the Chargers, expected to lead their bid again, along with Kate Santiago, Aprylle Tagsip and Jade Gentapa.
While the Crossovers also see a less-troubled way back on the winning track after dropping a four-setter to the Chargers against the Defenders, also winless in three starts, the HD Spikers-Chargers face-off promises to be a back-and-forth encounter.
Akari, however, has the proverbial momentum, having beaten the Crossovers and the Foxies, both in four sets, while Cignal has lost its last two games to Creamline and Choco Mucho in shutout fashions.
But expect the HD Spikers to use on their experience to stop the Chargers behind Ces Molina, Jovelyn Gonzaga, Chin Chin Basas, Riri Meneses, Roselyn Doria, Jackie Acuna, Chay Troncoso and setter Gel Cayuna and young Vanie Gandler.
But Akari coach Jorge Souza de Brito has whipped up the team into one cohesive, fighting unit with seasoned Dindin Manabat to provide the leadership and poise along with Erika Raagas, Trisha Genesis, Ezra Madrigal and playmaker Jaja Maraguinot and young guns Faith Nisperos and Fifi Sharma to supply added firepower and net defense.