Celine Domingo switches on Creamline Grand Slam engine
EJ Obiena was in the house and saw someone rise above the challenge Creamline faced even before it could turn its Grand Slam chase up a notch.
Ced Domingo stepped up when one of the Cool Smashers’ trio of prolific scorers sat out with a bad back, as Creamline held off PLDT, 25-22, 25-18, 26-28, 25-22, to debut in the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Reinforced Conference on a bright note on Thursday at PhilSports Arena.
The world’s third-ranked pole vaulter, Obiena saw a classic grudge match that showed just how every team in the field is eyeing to spoil a Triple Crown party the Cool Smashers are planning at the end of this tournament.
“I need to contribute, step up and do the role of the middle blocker/hitter,” said Domingo, who clinched the Finals Most Valuable Player honors in the league’s midseason conference just a few months ago that sealed her rise as a legitimate star.
With Tots Carlos unavailable due to an aching back, Domingo finished with 17 points built on 11 attacks. She also had three kill blocks and three aces as Creamline joined Cignal, Chery Tiggo and Petro Gazz at 1-0 while dealing the High Speed Hitters a first loss in two games.
Alyssa Valdez and Turkish spiker Yeliz Basa joined Domingo in a potent trio for Creamline. Valdez, delivered 17 points, 13 digs and 13 receptions while Basa also scored 17 points in her PVL debut.
Petro Gazz next
Alyssa Valdez, Ced Domingo, and coach Sherwin Meneses relish their first win in the PVL Reinforced Conference. | Lance Agcaoili/Inquirer Sports
Posted by Inquirer Sports on Thursday, October 13, 2022
“PLDT really prepared for us. They scouted our game well and adjusted in the third set,” Creamline coach Sherwin Meneses said in Filipino. “We lost the third because of the breaks, but they (High Speed Hitters) were not rattled in the fourth and kept on playing.” Jema Galanza was also instrumental with 13 points. Jia de Guzman made 32 excellent sets on top of two points to unleash the Cool Smashers’ hitters, who outplayed the High Speed Hitters in spiking, 65-52.
Kyla Atienza, the Asean Grand Prix’s best libero, protected the floor with 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.
Towering Russian import Elena Samoilenko led PLDT with 24 points, with Mika Reyes, Domingo’s counterpart, contributing 11 points.
Samoilenko fueled PLDT’s third set comeback from a 21-23 deficit by scoring three straight points to lead, 24-23, before Creamline saved three set points.
PLDT seeks to bounce back against Choco Mucho on Thursday next week.
The Flying Titans leaned on Odina Aliyeva’s 27-point explosion and Denden Lazaro-Revilla’s tremendous floor defense to overwhelm F2 Logistics, 25-21, 22-25, 25-20, 26-24, to rise to 1-1.