Valdez powers Creamline on top


ILOCOS NORTE – Creamline rallied past Perlas in a five-setter win, 25-12, 22-25, 21-25, 25-20, 15-10, to bag the top spot in the semifinals of the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference here on Friday at the PCV Socio-Civic Cultural Center in Bacarra.

In another test of poise and composure, the veteran laden Cool Smashers pulled through again, roaring back from a 1-2 set deficit behind Alyssa Valdez, Jema Galanza, Pangs Panaga and Tots Carlos to frustrate a surprisingly tough Perlas side and close out their single round elimination campaign with an 8-1 mark.

That netted the powerhouse team, which ruled this tournament in the then semi-pro PVL in 2019 before the pandemic disrupted the 2020 season, the No. 1 ranking in post-season play where it will play the No. 4 squad in a best-of-three series.

The Nos. 2 and 3 teams clash for the other finals berth with Choco Mucho (6-1), Chery Tiggo (6-2) and Petro Gazz (6-2) disputing the final rankings at press time and today. The semis fires off tomorrow (Sunday).

The Perlas Spikers, who had looked poised for a grand exit after seizing control in the third set, struggled in the fourth in the face of the Cool Smashers’ strong fightback and never recovered from a 2-6 start in the decider courtesy of Creamline’s back-to-back blocks.

Jho Maraguinot and Cherry Nunag tried to rally the Spikers at 9-12 but Valdez stalled them with a kill and the Cool Smashers’ claimed the win on the Spikers’  back-to-back backrow attack mishits that sandwiched Maraguinot’s last power hit.

Perlas took its seventh loss against a win.

Valdez uncorked a 22-attack game for a 24-point output while Carlos sizzled with 20 points and Galanza and Michele Gumabao, who saw action in the first three sets, came up with 13 and 11 points, respectively, for Creamline, which subdued erstwhile unbeaten Choco Mucho, 18-25, 25-9, 21-25, 25-18, 15-6, last Wednesday.

Nunag led Perlas’ attack with 17 points, Guino-o came away with 14 hits, Maraguinot finished with 12 points and ace setter Gel Cayuna tossed in six points while producing an impressive 44-excellent set performance, 19 more than counterpart Jia Morado.

Meanwhile, Choco Mucho held off Petro Gazz, 25-20, 23-25, 25-21, 25-23, in the other game to hike its record to 7-1 for second but the Flying Titans’ final ranking still hinges on the result of their match with the Chery Tiggo Crossovers today (Sunday).

The Angels settled for No. 4 with a 6-3 mark for a Final Four clash with the Cool Smashers.

Chery Tiggo may also end up with a 6-3 slate with a loss to Choco Mucho but the Crossovers hold the edge over the Angels in the tiebreak, having beaten the latter in three last August. 1.

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