Eager to finish the job for Creamline, Jema Galanza showcases reliability anew
MANILA, Philippines — Determined to bring home the 2023 Premier Volleyball League All-Filipino Conference title for Creamline, Jema Galanza stepped up when it mattered most to help the Cool Smashers withstand the hard-fighting Petro Gazz in their do-or-die Game 3 on Thursday at Mall of Asia Arena.
In front of 12,175 fans, the Cool Smashers recovered from another first-set loss with Galanza leaving everything on the floor with a game-high 19 points on top of 16 digs and 11 excellent receptions.
The conference’s 2nd Best Outside Hitter drilled the championship-winning attack to complete Creamline’s title defense with a 20-25, 25-20, 25-18, 25-15 victory over Petro Gazz in the rubber match.
“I just wanted to win. I didn’t think of anything but just spike the ball, said Galanza. “Coach told us to attack. You will be scolded if you don’t spike your ball. So we attacked, did our job inside the court, and had a winning mindset.”
The 2019 Open Conference MVP averaged 18.0 points in the three games to help Creamline complete a series comeback after losing Game 1 last Sunday.
It was a fulfilling championship run for Galanza, who is one of the players that stepped up in the absence of their injured teammates Alyssa Valdez, admitting that they felt the fatigue but their winning mindset fueled them to win their sixth overall crown.
“We’re so happy because we felt tired playing against Petro Gazz in three matches. But our mindset was not to let up in this game because we want to claim the championship,” she said in Filipino.
What makes it sweeter for Galanza and the Cool Smashers is they were able to redeem themselves after missing the Reinforced Conference last December that shattered their Grand Slam bid.
“Especially with what happened to us last year, we wanted to get the momentum on our side this time,” Galanza said.
Galanza and six other Cool Smashers will have a short rest during the Holy Week before shifting her focus to the Philippine women’s volleyball team for her upcoming second straight Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia in May.