Creamline roars back from set down, dispatches of Choco Mucho to return to PVL Open title series
As Creamline stormed its way back to the finals, powerful hitter Jema Galanza feels that she may have found her groove back.
An under-sized open-hitter at 5-foot-7, Galanza provided the scoring options the Cool Smashers needed on Sunday, hammering 18 points in their 23-25, 25-19, 25-18, 25-15 victory over sister team Choco Mucho to return to the PVL Open Conference finals before a loud crowd at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
“We just trained very well and prepared hard for Choco Mucho,” said Galanza in Filipino. “This win also allowed me to trust myself again because I was off for sometime.”
Her coming back to form couldn’t have come at a better right time.
There were 16,687 fans that appreciated the action, with that number the biggest in Philippine sports since the pandemic began in March 2020. Creamline lost to Chery Tiggo last year playing in a fans-less venue because of health restrictions.
With the match tied at a set each and the younger, more aggressive Flying Titans holding a 15-13 lead, Galanza scored back-to-back points to touch off a rally that shifted the momentum to their side for good.
“It feels good to see my teammates smile and put their trust in me, that’s when I do my best,” added Galanza who provided distraction to the Choco Mucho defense that was trained at team leader Alyssa Valdez and scoring machine Tots Carlos.
Carlos shone with 23 points, Valdez 17, while middle blocker Jeanette Panaga added 10 for the Cool Smashers, who swept the Flying Titans in their best-of-three semifinals, 2-0.
Creamline awaits the winner of the Cignal HD-Petro Gazz duel, which is tied at 1-1 after the Angels pulled out a 25-22, 21-25, 22-25, 26-24, 18-16 marathon win later in the night. Their decider is set on Monday.
Relentless attacking game
Playing with maturity that was typified by setter Jia Morado-de Guzman, Creamline overcame a stormy opening set which saw Choco Mucho leading all the way with a renewed energy and swag.
The Cool Smashers unloaded a total of 62 attacks against 36 by the Flying Titans, while also doing better in the service game with 10 aces compared to the four of the enemy.
De Guzman tossed 29 excellent sets as she ran Creamline’s play with maturity and finesse.
“We expected Choco Mucho to make adjustments and win sets, they are a strong and young team,” said Galanza.
Kat Tolentino led Choco Mucho with 14 points, while Des Cheng and Bea de Leon added 13 and nine, respectively. INQ
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