Rivalry and payback aside, Creamline and F2 out to do better in Game 2

Michele Gumabao (photo above, No. 7) is looking to do even better when the Cool Smashers gun for a Finals berth on Tuesday. —PVL PHOTOS

Michele Gumabao (photo above, No. 7) is looking to do even better when the Cool Smashers gun for a Finals berth on Tuesday. —PVL PHOTOS

Almost everyone in Creamline toed the team line about not making the Premier Volleyball League All-Filipino semifinal series against F2 Logistics a matter of payback.

“Our mindset is not to get back at them,” Tots Carlos said after the Cool Smashers took Game 1 last Saturday. “It’s more on we want to be in the Finals. The goal is to rise step by step.”

Surprisingly, the sentiment is shared on the other side of the court.Regardless if the team behind the net is a fierce rival or not, Cargo Movers coach Regine Diego doesn’t take kindly to losing. “I can’t accept [the loss]. Sorry, I’m a sore loser,” Diego said after F2’s 26-24, 25-18, 22-25, 25-15 defeat in the series opener.

“I really wanna win. I’m very competitive. I don’t need reasons.” Diego didn’t waste time singling out how things turned bad for the Cargo Movers, who had mastered the Cool Smashers with five-set thrillers in their two previous meetings—the team has a tendency to flip the switch off during a game.

“It’s very hard for us coaches to push them because when they stop [competing], they totally stop.

They still have to find the motivation or the things I should say to wake them up,” Diego said.

“They can’t play like that,” she added. “It’s the semifinals. Either you give your heart out or nothing. I hope they learn from that because it’s very important. This is not just a random game. This is the semifinals. This is a different ball game now.”Creamline star Michele Gumabao understands that F2 Logistics will eventually figure things out.

That’s why the resurgent hitter knows the importance of getting things done when both teams clash anew in Game 2 on Tuesday at Mall of Asia Arena, where the Cool Smashers will try to punch a championship ticket.“We will keep on working,” Gumabao, who delivered the big points in the decisive fourth set, said.

“In the last stretch of the tournament, there is no rest and we will need to keep on grinding starting in practice, listening to the instructions and scouting reports of our coaches. And for us, we have to execute right.”

The two teams clash at 6:30 p.m., right after Petro Gazz also guns for a title berth against PLDT in Game 2 of their own series that kicks off at 4 p.m. The Angels bounced back from a poor first set to take Game 1, 22-25, 25-19, 25-21, 25-18.

Petro Gazz coach Oliver Almadro expects a strong response from the High Speed Hitters, but also knows his team will step up to the challenge.

“PLDT is a really great team. But great teams will just push us forward,” said Almadro.

“They really pushed us to our limits so we saw our weak spots, especially in the first and second set where things were really close.”“What’s good is that these girls are really fighters. They’re humble and they’re fighters, and they really want it,” added Almadro.