Staying quiet in offseason, Cool Smashers ready to make another run
For Creamline, fixing something that’s not broken is very applicable as the Cool Smashers open the 2023 Premier Volleyball League season with the same local lineup that went on to have a shot at a triple crown sweep last year.
With practically the entire field making player acquisitions and some going as far as changing coaches, Creamline will come into the All-Filipino Conference starting on Saturday with the same feared nucleus, as the Cool Smashers—understandably—start working on another crack at the Grand Slam.
Coach Sherwin Meneses, though, refuses to look that far. He insists on taking it one point at a time, a formula that gave them the Open and Invitational Conference crowns before finishing third in the Reinforced won by Petro Gazz.
“All the teams have beefed up in the off-season,” Meneses said in Filipino. “We have kept our lineup intact and we are prepared as we can be this conference. We will see how far we can get in the All-Filipino.”
That statement will be answered in part in the inaugurals when the Cool Smashers, sans superstar Alyssa Valdez, battle Petro Gazz in the 6 p.m. game at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao, Quezon City.
Valdez is still recovering from knee surgery and is expected to be out for the tournament. Creamline, though, still has the most explosive offense built around Tots Carlos and Jema Galanza and Ced Domingo slowly morphing into a solid two-way force.
The Angels, who won the Reinforced Conference, will be playing their first tournament under the colorful Oliver Almadro, lost Myla Pablo to free agency but welcomed four veterans led by Des Clemente.
“They have a new system [with Almadro], that’s why we have been studying how they will play,” Meneses said. “We have always had good matches against Petro Gazz and you can expect that we will be ready for them.”
Akari will be coming into its second conference after debuting in the Reinforced last year. The squad made one of the biggest moves in the offseason by signing Dindin Manabat-Santiago.
Choco Mucho tests Akari in the 4 p.m. curtain-raiser.
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