Stint in AVC as PH rep a boost to Cool Smashers’ bid in their quest to complete PVL’s first Triple Crown sweep
After extending their reign in the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Invitational Conference, Alyssa Valdez and the Creamline Cool Smashers are heeding the call to represent the Philippines in the Asian Volleyball Confederation (AVC) Cup for Women from Aug. 21 to 29 at PhilSports Arena.
That’s the immediate target. The bigger picture for the Cool Smashers for the rest of the year is completing a grand slam.
“We have a very limited preparation because it was short notice,” said the charismatic Creamline skipper after a 25-21, 25-19, 25-8 win over Kingwhale Taipei in the Final on Sunday. “But we’re just gonna give our best and hopefully all the Filipinos, all the volleyball supporters, will be there to support us and welcome all the other teams.”
After that, Valdez and the rest of the Cool Smashers will have just over a month to plan for their next PVL coup, the Reinforced Conference that opens on Oct. 8, as the squad already has an import in mind and would want to bring her in at the soonest possible time to get acquainted to coach Sherwin Meneses’ system.
“It is very important to get a good import because 50-percent of the time they score,” said Meneses in Filipino. “We already have one [signed up] and we’re trying to bring her in early to practice with the team.”
He, however, wouldn’t disclose which position their import would play and how she would fit in a team teeming with talent.
Meneses and his staff will have a lot of time to think about that, and official games to see what their needs would be when they play in the AVC Cup.
And Valdez is excited for everyone as she represents the country again.
“I’m very excited for everyone. Because not all have been exposed to this or given this opportunity to play for the national team. And now we’re given this opportunity as a club team, we’re really glad to accept it,” said Valdez, who started playing for the country in 2015.
“We’ll try to maximize everything and learn from it as a team and as individuals.”
Celine Domingo, who last played for the national youth team in a pocket tournament in 2019, is not shying away from the opportunity.
“Challenge accepted,” Domingo, the Finals Most Valuable Player (MVP), said. “Personally, I’m so happy that I get to represent the country again. We will do our best to raise the flag of the Philippines.”
Tots Carlos, who emerged as MVP for the past two conferences, is making her national team debut and she vowed that her team will try its best to put up a gallant stand in the continental meet.
“We’re glad that the whole team will play and we’ll really give our best to give a good fight against every team,” Carlos said in Filipino.
Southeast Asian Games veterans Jema Galanza and Kyle Negrito are representing the country once more, while former Philippine team members Jia de Guzman, Risa Sato and Michele Gumabao are making their comebacks.
The Philippines is included in the group of death in Pool A, as the nationals kick off their AVC Cup hosting against Vietnam on Aug. 21 before clashing with defending champion China on Aug. 23, Iran on Aug. 24 and then South Korea the following day.
“We’re ready,” Meneses said. “It will be a huge benefit and great opportunity for our team.”
Creamline, though, will have to cut two players from its championship-winning roster, with only 12 allowed for the AVC.
Win or lose in the AVC, it will be a beneficial experience for the entire squad, making them even more ready to pursue the PVL’s first grand slam. INQ
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