PVL: Alyssa Valdez, Creamline outlast PLDT to start Grand Slam bid
MANILA, Philippines — Alyssa Valdez, Ced Domingo, and Turkish spiker Yeliz Basa formed a potent combo for Creamline to fend off PLDT, 25-22, 25-18, 26-28. 25-22, and kick off their Grand Slam bid on a high note in the 2022 Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference on Thursday at Philsports Arena.
Valdez, who missed Creamline’s two international tournaments due to dengue, hardly missed a beat in her return as she delivered 17 points built on 15 attacks and two blocks on top of 13 digs and 13 receptions in the absence of two-time MVP Tots Carlos, who missed the match due to an undisclosed injury.
Basa also scored 17 points on her PVL debut while Invitational Conference Finals MVP Ced Domingo finished with 17 off 11 attacks, three blocks, and three aces for the Cool Smashers, who outlasted the High Speed Hitters in two hours and 13 minutes.
When PLDT gave Creamline a late scare with a neck-and-neck fourth set duel tied at 19-all, Domingo took charge in the crucial moments, putting the finishing touches to reach match point, 24-21, before Jema Galanza committed an attack error. But the middle blocker ended the match with a cross-court kill.
“PLDT really prepared for us. They scouted our game well and adjusted in the third set. It was the breaks of the game also that’s why we lost the third. But they were not rattled in the fourth and kept on playing,” said Creamline coach Sherwin Meneses in Filipino.
Jema Galanza was also instrumental with 13 points. Jia De Guzman made 32 excellent sets on top of two points as the Cool Smashers outplayed the High Speed Hitters in spiking, 65-52, while Kyla Atienza, the Asean Grand Prix’s best libero, protected 15 digs and 13 receptions.
Creamline, which is eyeing its third title this season, will have an early 2019 Reinforced Conference Finals rematch with defending champion Petro Gazz on Tuesday.
Russian import Elena Samoilenko sustained her fine play for PLDT with 24 points and 17 receptions only to absorb their first loss in two matches. Mika Reyes contributed 11 points and seven digs.
Samoilenko fueled PLDT’s third set comeback from a 21-23 deficit by scoring three straight points to steal the lead, 24-23, before Creamline saved three set point advantages. Jovie Prado’s kill and a blocking miscue from Risa Sato won the set for the High Speed Hitters to extend the match.
PLDT seeks to bounce back against Choco Mucho on Thursday next week.