With second stringers getting heavy minutes, Creamline shoots down Army and moves to semifinal doorstep
Sherwin Meneses, with Creamline on the cusp of advancing to the semifinals of the Premier Volleyball League All-Filipino Conference, had his second unit gain some confidence boost with extended play in a 25-15, 25-20, 25-12 whipping of Army on Tuesday at PhilSports Arena in Pasig City.
Meneses is just making sure that he will have more weapons at his disposal as the Cool Smashers, who are now at 5-1, battle surging PLDT next Tuesday before slugging it out with struggling Akari on March 14, with wins in either match formalizing their advance.
“The opportunity to play my [second] stringers presented itself,” Meneses said in Filipino as Creamline, already without the recuperating Alyssa Valdez, also played without the prolific Jema Galanza. “There’s still a long way to go, and giving the players the time on the floor allows them to help each other out.”
Tots Carlos fired 17 points, and Michelle Gumabao, who has seen a rejuvenation since the Reinforced Conference last season, added 11.
“I’m very pleased with what I saw because [the second stringers] didn’t just play a few points, it was almost one set,” Meneses went on. “That’s the best thing that I saw in this game, as it gives me an idea on who I can count on in our next games.
“I know that all of them will be ready.”
Rose Vargas came away with seven points, middle Risa Sato scored five and Rizza Mandapat and Pau Soriano had three and two points, respectively for the defending champions, who came up with 42 attack points against the Lady Troopers’ 29.
“I feel good since we really wanted to win while letting my other teammates play. It’s very fulfilling seeing them play,” said Carlos, a two-time Most Valuable Player.
Creamline made the most out of the Lady Troopers’ erratic service reception, scoring 10 aces—with four of them coming from Vargas—while drawing 19 points from Army’s unforced errors.
Honey Royse Tubino fired 12 points while Lut Malaluan, Nene Bautista and Jeanette Villareal combined for 18 points for Army.
But after battling their fancied rivals in the first 12 minutes marred by mishits and miscues, the Lady Troopers lost steam and failed to measure up with the Cool Smashers’ power game and hustle plays.
The Cool Smashers will take a week-long break before resuming their hunt for the all-important win against a hot-charging High Speed Hitters.
After dropping a tough five-set setback to F2 Logistics last Feb. 7, PLDT swept its next three matches to wheel back into strong contention with the High Speed Hitters looking to extend their run against the Akari Chargers at presstime.
Army took small leads early in the first frame before slumping to a fifth straight defeat.
Vargas spearheaded the attack when Creamline steadied the ship, so to speak, scoring on a kill and before Gumabao blocked Tubino to take the lead late in the first. INQ