Top-ranked Creamline, Cignal gun for semis slots
In only her second season with Creamline, heavy-hitting spiker Tots Carlos believes she already understands her team inside out: A composition of different champion players with the goal of winning a championship.
When it comes to overall skills, Carlos feels they are not far behind the other powerhouses, but the Cool Smashers’ real strength lies on their character and mindset.
“I admire these players because of their winning mindset. It’s a big help that we remained intact for this season,” said Carlos moments after unloading 28 points as Creamline swept its pool playlist on Wednesday. “The team is composed of champion players.”
The other two quarterfinal series will pit Choco Mucho against PLDT and Petro Gazz opposite F2 Logistics on Tuesday.
Carlos has been a consistent top scorer for the Cool Smashers, and along with Jema Galanza, Celine Domingo and Jeanette Panaga, is taking much of the scoring load from leader Alyssa Valdez. “It’s good for us that everyone contributes. Offense-wise we can get points from anyone because of the system and the way Jia [Morado] distributes the ball,” said Creamline coach Sherwin Meneses. “We have more and more sources of points.”
That’s taking shape this Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Open Conference as the Cool Smashers appear to slowly veer way from being a Valdez-centered club to a balanced, all-around squad that is now poised to barge into the semifinals.
But it won’t be that easy as struggling defending champion Chery Tiggo is standing in the way on Monday in the quarterfinals. The Cool Smashers enjoy a twice-to-beat shield but then again, the Crossovers also overhauled a 0-1 deficit to win the title over them last year.
With a reputation of starting slow, Chery Tiggo dropped its first three matches before making it as the No. 4 team in Pool A with a win over Black Mamba Army. It also kept its core intact except for last year’s Most Valuable Player, Jaja Santiago, who is now playing as an import in Japan V.League.
The road to the next round is far smoother for Cignal, another squad which swept its way to the quarterfinals. Cignal will need to beat winless BaliPure just once to make the semifinals.
HD Spikers’ coach Shaq delos Santos said they will not take it easy against the Water Defenders despite the huge disparity in firepower and system.
“If we can get it in one game, the better for us,” said Delos Santos. “We can’t take them lightly. But the team has the experience so it’s a plus. We just have to be united.” INQ