Creamline beats Petro Gazz anew to win fourth PVL All-Filipino title
MANILA, Philippines — In their most challenging tournament yet, the Creamline Cool Smashers stayed on top of the Premier Volleyball League as they outlasted the hard-fighting Petro Gazz Angels in a do-or-die Finals Game 3, 20-25, 25-20, 25-18, 25-15, to complete a golden repeat in the 2023 All-Filipino Conference.
Playing without the three-time MVP Alyssa Valdez for the first time, Creamline stood its ground in front of 12,175 fans on Thursday at Mall of Asia Arena with wing spikers Tots Carlos, Michele Gumabao, and Jema Galanza forming a potent trio for a successful title defense.
Galanza drilled the championship-clinching kill and led the Cool Smashers with a game-high 19 points on top of 16 digs and 11 excellent receptions.
Gumabao sustained her fine form with 18 points including four blocks, while Carlos, who claimed her third PVL MVP awards this conference, added 16 markers.
“It feels good to come back because we lose the first game, we fought in the second game, and even in this game we lost the first set. Really grateful for the team for not giving up, especially coach. They didn’t give up on us. They didn’t stop reminding us to play our game,” said Carlos in Filipino.
Creamline captain and setter Jia De Guzman dished out 18 excellent sets and gave her team its biggest lead in the fourth, 21-11, dropping a stunning 1-2 play and never looking back in their dominant fourth set.
De Guzman was named the PVL All-Fiipino Conference Finals MVP, also for the fourth time.
The Cool Smashers claimed their fourth All-Filipino crown and their sixth overall to stay the most successful club in the PVL even without Valdez, who still supported her teammates amid her road to recovery from a right knee injury.
“We’re so happy because this Finals series wasn’t easy. We’re so happy that we got it. We lost in the first set but the team fought back,” said coach Sherwin Meneses in Filipino after winning his third title.
Celine Domingo also delivered 16 points, highlighted by four blocks to dominate Petro Gazz in blocking, 14-8. Substitute middle blocker Risa Sato also provided the spark with six markers including the set-clinching ace in the second frame, while libero Kyla Atienza protected the floor with 24 digs and 13 receptions.
The Cool Smashers completed a series comeback after losing Game 1, 22-25, 26-24, 23-25, 24-26. But they came out with vengeance on Tuesday, pulling off an 18-25, 25-16, 25-18, 23-25, 15-6 victory to force a rubber match.
Creamline shrugged off a rocky start, recovering from a first-set loss and staving off a gritty Petro Gazz side in the second where Grethcel Soltones scored five of the Angels’ six straight points to erase a 12-18 deficit and tie the frame at 18-all.
Galanza and Gumabao brought back the momentum to the Cool Smashers to reach set point, 24-20, before substitute Rosa Sato nailed an ace to equalize the game at one set apiece.
The All-Filipino championship remained elusive for Petro Gazz as it settled for silver on its third try.
Soltones powered Petro Gazz with 17 points and 11 digs. Jonah Sabete had 11 points, 13 digs, and nine receptions, as Remy Palma added eight markers including four blocks.
WATCH: Jema Galanza for the championship! #PVLAFC2023 | via Lance Agcaoili
Posted by Inquirer Sports on Thursday, March 30, 2023