Jia De Guzman thrilled to have Alyssa Valdez back for PVL Finals | Inquirer Sports

Jia De Guzman thrilled to have Alyssa Valdez back for PVL Finals

/ 09:25 PM July 25, 2023

Creamline Cool Smashers PVL

Creamline Cool Smashers. –MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines — Jia De Guzman is excited to play alongside Alyssa Valdez in the championship game of the 2023 Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Invitational Conference on Sunday after the Creamline Cool Smashers booked their ticket to the final.

De Guzman paced the Creamline with 17 excellent sets to beat Vietnam’s Kinh Bac-Bac Ninh, 25-23, 25-23, 25-17, and secure one of of the two final berths with their fourth win in the semifinal round.

The decorated setter is thrilled to finally have her longtime teammate Valdez on her side with the star outside spiker peaking at the right time in her return from a right knee injury, which sidelined her for seven months including the Cool Smashers’ title run in the All-Filipino Conference.

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“I’m very happy because last conference, she was still on the sidelines guiding us, helping us out, cheering us on. But it’s different having her inside and contributing points, especially in tight and crucial situations,” said De Guzman of Valdez in Filipino. “Not only Alyssa, all of my spikers are reliable inside the court.”

Creamline, which beat KingWhale Taipei to rule the Invitational Conference last year, is playing its ninth finals of the last 10 tournaments against the other top two team of the semis round-robin on Sunday.

Creamline setter Jia De Guzman PVL

Creamline setter Jia De Guzman. –MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

The championship game will be a special affair for Valdez, especially after suffering a knee injury last December during the battle for third against Chery Tiggo in the Reinforced Conference.

“I miss this feeling.  It’s so much different to be here inside the court, playing with your teammates than not suiting up,” said Valdez, who had 11 points and 11 excellent receptions against the Vietnamese club.

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“I will give whatever I can to help and contribute to my team this final. We will give our all, most especially me after I got injured in the battle for third. So it’s very, very special to me.”

Before heading to the final, De Guzman is focusing on their last semis match against  Japan’s Kurashiki Ablaze, whom they could possibly face in the championship game, on Friday at 6:30 p.m.

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“They’re very defensive. Actually, Vietnam was very defensive today so we’re expecting even better defense from our next opponent in Japan. We go back to training tomorrow and we also need to recover and rest for us to give a good fight against Japan because we don’t know what to expect,” said the Creamline playmaker.

De Guzman also relished their experience playing against Kinh Bac-Bac Ninh.

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“Of course, Vietnam it’s a new team for us. As I mentioned earlier, it’s not the usual PVL teams that we’ve been playing up against for how many years. The first couple of sets were more of our adjustments. Thankfully,  we got the win. It wasn’t easy, we can’t say that it was easy,” she said.

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TAGS: Alyssa Valdez, Creamline Cool Smashers, Jia De Guzman, PVL

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