With first win, Creamline flaunts depth and status as favorite
It almost seemed unfair, the way Alyssa Valdez took a backseat in Creamline’s debut in the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Invitational Conference and yet the Cool Smashers still dominated Petro Gazz, 25-22, 23-25, 25-22, 25-20, late Tuesday night at Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan City.
Valdez finished with just eight points as Creamline won the battle of Open conference title protagonists, but an abundance of firepower allowed the team to chalk up its first win despite trailing at several points of the first two sets.
“I think we were just trying to find our groove,” Jia de Guzman said after a shaky start to the match. “But we really weren’t worried about that big of a gap in the first set of the first game of another compressed and long conference, so we were just trying our best to play within our system.”
De Guzman finished with 27 excellent sets, pulling the strings of an offense that drew production from former Most Valuable Player winners Tots Carlos (18 points) and Jema Galanza (17 points).
Petro Gazz actually made a good account of itself despite the absence of chief scorer Gretchel Soltones. With the likes of Myla Pablo and MJ Philips leading the charge, the Angels had the Cool Smashers staring at a 4-12 deficit in the first set.
But Creamline’s depth and its well-oiled machine proved too much in the end.
“The coaches really reminded us to go back to the basics; we were making a lot of unforced errors that we usually don’t make in training. Other than going back to our offensive pattern, the basic remains number one,” De Guzman said.
The Cool Smashers’ performance no doubt bodes well for their chase for back-to-back titles this year. Numerous teams surely have taken notice of just how dangerous they are, but the question is, can they do anything about it?
PLDT will be next to take a crack at Creamline after winning its opening match. The Power Hitters, led by Mika Reyes, battle the Cool Smashers on Saturday.
Before that, Choco Mucho and Cignal HD square off on Thursday also at Filoil for the early tournament lead.
The Flying Titans are coming off a 25-21, 25-21, 25-23 rout of undermanned Chery Tiggo while the HD Spikers enter the 2:30 p.m. showdown fresh from a 25-17, 21-25, 25-20, 25-20 victory over Army.
Army and Petro Gazz, meanwhile, collide at 5:30 p.m. in the hopes of barging into the win column. —CONTRIBUTED