PVL: Creamline beats F2 Logistics in come-from-behind win for early semis lead
MANILA, Philippines — Defending champion Creamline avoided a fourth set collapse before taking full control of the decider to complete a 12-25, 25-15, 23-25, 30-28, 15-7 victory over F2 Logistics in the 2023 Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Invitational Conference semifinals on Thursday at Philsports Arena.
Tots Carlos and Jema Galanza showed the way for Creamline with 20 and 19 points, respectively. But it was Alyssa Valdez, who anchored the team’s comeback, especially in the fourth set, and tallied another conference-high with 17 points and eight digs.
Ced Domingo also put on the finishing touches in the last two sets with 16 points including a game-high six blocks to give the reigning champions an early 2-0 lead — including their pool phase win over PLDT — in the semifinal round.
“We all know, F2 has a system also that won’t easily let go of the game. We let them reach our points, we have to keep fighting. At least our mindset came back towards the latter part, one point at a time is the mindset we want,” said Valdez in Filipino. “We’re very grateful. Every win in the semifinals is important for us to reach our goal. But after the day, we have to set our minds for our next games. We’re just very, very happy na this is our first [win] in a five-setter game.”
“We hope we learned so much here and we hope we gained a lot of learnings and saw the things we need to fix for the next games in the semifinals,” she added.
After going down a 1-2 in the match, the Cool Smashers blew a 20-10 spread in the fourth set as the Cargo Movers leaned on Myla Pablo, who erupted for 27 points, and their substitute spikers to tie the game at 23-all before Tots Carlos restored the order to reach set point.
Ivy Lacsina scored back-to-back kills to put F2 on the verge of victory, 25-24, but Valdez came to the rescue and brought back Creamline on top, 26-25, with two consecutive hits before Lacsina tied the set anew.
After Kim Fajardo and Carlos traded service errors, Valdez nailed a smart drop ball for a 28-27 advantage but Pablo equalized it. Domingo drilled a quick attack followed by Galanza’s off-the-block spike to force a fifth set.
The Cool Smashers dominated the fifth set with a 10-2 start before Galanza and Domingo conspired to score four points for the match-point advantage, 14-4. The Cargo Movers saved three points but Risa Sato ended the two-hour and 24-minute match with a game-winning quick attack.
“F2 really didn’t want it to give it to us. Every conference Creamline and F2 clash, it’s always a tough battle,” said Creamline coach Sherwin Meneses, who was celebrating his birthday. “We’re happy to get this win because every game in the semis is important. Thank you to the players because they didn’t let exhaustion get in our way. They delivered especially in the crucial point of the game.”
Jia De Guzman dished out 21 excellent sets for Creamline as Carlos and Galanza also stepped up defensively with 17 receptions and nine digs, respectively.
The Cool Smashers remain unbeaten in five games and will eye their third semis win against the Cignal HD Spikers on Saturday.
F2 Logistics dropped to 1-1 tied with Cignal amid Pablo’s 24 spikes and three blocks on top of eight receptions, while Lacsina had 13 points.
The Cargo Movers missed Kianna Dy in the fourth set after hurting her right knee as she only scored nine points in their first semis game ahead of their Saturday’s battle against the PLDT High Speed Hitters (0-2).