Cool Smashers win thriller, push Flying Titans to the brink
Basically refusing to play with an undue advantage gained before the first serve, Creamline turned to its formidable cast of prolific locals on Thursday night to win another box-office match against sister team Choco Mucho and announce its readiness for anyone in the Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference playoffs.
With Choco Mucho import Odina Aliyeva scratched at the last minute because of health and safety reasons, Creamline also played all-Filipino from near the halfway point of the second set on and displayed so much cohesion that the reliable Yeliz Basa was kept in the freezer of a 15-25, 25-20, 25-20, 28-26 thriller before 19,117 delirious fans at Mall of Asia Arena.
Jema Galanza and Ced Domingo both came off the bench for the Cool Smashers in the second set, with Domingo drilling a lot of the big points in the heart-pounding fourth frame that finished off the hard-fighting Flying Titans.
“The locals know each other pretty well, and Yeliz was feeling some pain in her shoulder,” said Creamline coach Sherwin Meneses in Filipino. “I guess it was also a blessing that we played all-Filipino.”
Creamline closed out with a 7-1 card, No. 1 in the classification round.
Getting no gift from its sister team, Choco Mucho, after dropping to 3-4, would need a lot of help from the other teams in the remaining games of the eliminations to have a chance at advancing.
Despite bagging a playoff seat as early as last week, the Cool Smashers haven’t taken their feet off the pedal as they are trying to complete a Grand Slam and would want everyone to be at their sharpest when the round robin semifinals starts in over a week.
Meanwhile, Chery Tiggo gutted out a 25-20, 18-25, 22-25, 25-16, 18-16 victory over PLDT in the first game to avoid any complications in advancing to the playoffs while at the same time shutting the door on the High Speed Hitters.
It was a sterling comeback from 1-2 down for the Crossovers, who ended their elimination round campaign with a 6-2 record.
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