PVL: Creamline reaches semis, boots out defending champ Chery Tiggo
MANILA, Philippines—Creamline finally settled the score with a team that inflicted it a heartbreak last season, scoring an emphatic 25-18, 25-14, 23-25, 25-19 triumph over defending champion Chery Tiggo to march into the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference semifinals at Filoil Flying V Center.
Banking on their heavy hitters while leveling up on net defense, the Cool Smashers took no chances against the out-of-sync Crossovers who last year pulled the rug from under them in the title series.
But the Cool Smashers had a big jolt in the third when the Crossovers climbed back from 23-20 to extend the match to a fourth set through consecutive hits by EJ Laure coming off the bench.
And in the early moments of the fourth set, the memory of Creamline’s collapse of 2021 suddenly came back as Chery Tiggo led, 7-4, before engaging in a thrilling back-and-forth.
But Tots Carlos, Jema Galanza and Jeanette Panaga joined hands to wrestle the steering wheel for Creamline scoring 22 points to preserve the win for the Cool Smashers.
“Our mindset now is to get back against them,” said Panaga in Filipino. “This game is very important for us.”
Unlike in their previous match-up, Creamline did its homework, closing the air space on Chery Tiggo gunners Dindin Manabat and Mylene Paat who were trying to fill in the void left by Jaja Santiago, the heroine of last year’s championship run who is now playing in Japan.
Panaga, Carlos and Celine Domingo took the load from team leader Alyssa Valdez, hammering points from all angles as the Cool Smashers didn’t have to use it twice-to-beat incentive in securing a semis ticket.
They will battle either the Choco Mucho Flying Titans or the PLDT Home Fiber High Speed Hitters who clash on Tuesday in one of the quarterfinal match-ups.
As Chery Tiggo failed to put order in its game the whole season, Creamline came out in its usual college girl spirits, giggling and gushing over every point they scored through the masterful handling of Jia Morado-De Guzman.
The Cool Smashers out-attacked the enemies, 32-14, in the first two frames to set the tone for the lopsided match far, far removed from their encounter for the first PVL pro title last year.
Chery Tiggo will face into classification round after incurring a fourth defeat in five games in the season.
PVL: Chemistry plays big part in Creamline’s early success, says Tots Carlos
PVL: Creamline takes top spot, survives Petro Gazz
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.