PVL: Kurashiki Ablaze sets up title showdown vs Creamline after ousting PLDT | Inquirer Sports

PVL: Kurashiki Ablaze sets up title showdown vs Creamline after ousting PLDT

/ 07:16 PM July 27, 2023

Kurashiki Ablaze PVL Invitational Conference

Kurashiki Ablaze in the PVL Invitational Conference. –MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines — Kurashiki Ablaze forged a winner-take-all final against defending champion Creamline after ending PLDT’s title hopes, 25-15, 23-25, 25-14, 25-23, in the 2023 Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Invitational Conference on Thursday at Philsports Arena.

Asaka Tamaru rose to the occasion with her best scoring performance in the Philippines so far, erupting for 30 points with a 28-of-55 attacking clip as the Japanese Division 3 team overcame a second-set defeat to stay unbeaten in four games in the semifinal round-robin.


“I had a lot of lapses in the fourth set that gave up points to PLDT. I just stayed composed in the end,” said Asaka through an interpreter. “This is our first time to play consecutive games so it’s tiring and we got a bit nervous. But this is a good experience this tournament.”


Despite losing their final semis game, the High Speed Hitters pushed the Ablaze to their limits, erasing a 9-17 spread in the fourth set led by Royse Tubino’s 23-point effort as she trimmed it to just two, 19-21. 

 Kurashiki Ablaze's Tamaru Asaka

Kurashiki Ablaze’s Tamaru Asaka. –MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

Saki Tanabe restored the order for Japan with two consecutive points capped by a block for a 23-19 breather but Kurashiki scored three straight points from Dell Palomata’s quick kill and back-to-back attack errors to cut it down to just one, 23-22.

Saki put the Ablaze at match point, 24-22, before Mean Mendrez saved a point. But Akane Hiraoka ended the two-hour match with a kill.

Kurashiki and unbeaten Creamline will clash in a no-bearing semis game on Friday at 6:30 p.m., fighting for the sweep of the semis round.

“PLDT is a strong team. It’s a team that can beat us but good thing we found a way to win this game. Tomorrow against Creamline, we will do our best,” said Kurashiki coach Hideo Suzuki. 

Saki finished with 15 points and 12 digs. Akane had 11 points, while Yukino Yano tallied nine points, 23 digs, and 13 excellent receptions. Setter Kyoka Ohshima dished out 19 excellent sets and scored seven markers.


PLDT finished the semis with a 2-3 record but its fate for the bronze medal match depending on Cignal and F2 Logistics’ matches against Vietnam’s Kinh Bac-Bac Ninh. If both local teams win over the visiting team by three or four sets, they will clash in another game, while PLDT will miss the battle for third.

Tubino had 21 attacks and 10 digs. Fiola Ceballos chipped in 15 points and 17 excellent receptions, while libero Kath Arado put up 35 digs and 16 receptions.

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TAGS: Japan, PLDT High Speed Hitters, PVL

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