PVL: Aiming to finish strong, Creamline nears bronze with win over Chery Tiggo
MANILA, Philippines — Creamline nailed 17 blocks to trounce Chery Tiggo, 25-22, 22-25, 25-5, 25-19, and move a win closer to clinching a bronze medal in the 2022 Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference on Thursday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Licking the wounds of their failed Grand Slam bid after the Crossovers forced a five-setter in their last semis game on Tuesday, the Cool Smashers remained hungry to finish the season strong as Jeanette Panaga unloaded nine blocks to finish with 14 points, while Tots Carlos and Alyssa Valdez propelled their attacking.
“Our mindset was to play our game and bring back our ‘happy, happy’ mentality. Coach Sherwin [Meneses] told us to play with less pressure and think of the reason why we’re here,” said Panaga in Filipino after tying the season-high in blocking set by Rose Doria during Cignal’s five-set win over PLDT in the Invitationals’ battle for third.
With Turkish spiker Yeliz Basa and middle blocker Domingo sitting out, Carlos led Creamline with 19 points off 18 attacks and a block on top of 17 digs, as Valdez also joined the block party with four blocks to finish with 16 markers and had 10 digs.
After splitting the first two sets, Creamline bounced back in the third, pouring in seven blocks and limiting Chery Tiggo to just three attacks. The Cool Smashers unleashed an 11-0 start to end the frame in just 18 minutes.
It was the second lowest scoring output by a PVL team in a set as Creamline also limited Balipure to the league-worst three markers in its 25-12, 25-3, 25-15 victory last July 28, 2021 in the Open Conference bubble in Bacarra, Ilocos Norte.
Michele Gumabao also provided the spark off the bench with 11 points, including her three consecutive attacks in the fourth set to clinch their Game 1 win. Jema Galanza had 10 points and nine excellent receptions, as Jia De Guzman made 17 excellent sets on top of three markers.
“We’re happy to get this win and we were able to recover from our previous [heartbreak] of not making it to the Finals. When we’re talking to each other, we wanted to enjoy our remaining games and then the result will follow,” said Creamline coach Sherwin Meneses in Filipino.
Creamline tries to clinch third place in Game 2 on Tuesday at Philsports Arena as it tries to ease the pain of missing the finals for the first time since 2017.
MVP candidate Mylene Paat, who was averaging 20 points per game in the eliminations, was held to her conference-low eight points only hitting seven of her 54 attack attempts, as Chery Tiggo only scored 35 attacks against Creamline’s 57.
Roselle Baliton had five blocks to finish with 10 points to lead the Crossovers. Import Jelena Cvijovic had nine points, while EJ Laure had eight markers, 27 receptions, and 14 digs.