PVL: Creamline, minus Alyssa Valdez, cruises past Petro Gazz
MANILA, Philippines — Even without Alyssa Valdez, Creamline only needed three sets to take down rival Petro Gazz, 25-18, 25-20, 25-22, to jumpstart its 2023 Premier Volleyball League All-Filipino Conference campaign on a high note on Saturday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
With the three-time MVP Valdez sitting out of the game due to a right knee injury, the Cool Smashers stepped up to fill in the void as Michele Gumabao shone as a starting spiker, while Celine Domingo sustained her fine form, coming off a stellar season last year.
Gumabao and Domingo scored 13 points each and put on the finishing touches in the third set, willing their team back from a 21-22 deficit by scoring four straight points capped by Jonah Sabete’s anti-climactic attack error.
Reigning Conference MVP Tots Carlos delivered the goods as an open spiker with 11 points, 15 excellent receptions, and nine digs. Jeanette Panaga chipped in 10 markers, including four blocks, while setter Jia De Guzman made 27 excellent sets.
“All our players are willing to step up. Whoever checks in the court knows her role. All of them are leaders. They also know the system so it’s not difficult to adjust,” said Creamline coach Sherwin Meneses in Filipino.
“We’re happy with the win. We all know that Petro Gazz that is a champion team last conference. Our service receive worked in the crucial part. Hopefully, we can sustain our good service-receive as the season goes on.”
Creamline joined sister team Choco Mucho as opening day winners.
Oliver Almadro’s coaching debut with Petro Gazz was spoiled as he hasn’t beaten Creamline since 2019 when he was with Choco Mucho.
Reinforced Conference’s best middle blocker MJ Phillips was in street clothes due to a shoulder injury.
Aiza Maizo-Pontillas and Nicole Tiamzon led the Angels with 10 points, while Grethcel Soltones added nine points.