Kurashiki Ablaze dethrone Creamline to rule PVL Invitational Conference | Inquirer Sports

Kurashiki Ablaze dethrone Creamline to rule PVL Invitational Conference

/ 10:11 PM July 30, 2023

Kurashiki Ablaze beat Creamline Cool Smashers to rule PVL Invitational Conference

Kurashiki Ablaze beat Creamline Cool Smashers to rule PVL Invitational Conference. –MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines — Kurashiki Ablaze dethroned the Creamline Cool Smashers, 19-25, 25-23, 25-19, 20-25, 15-13,  to sweep the 2023 Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Invitational Conference on Sunday in front of ecstatic 8,223 fans at Philsports Arena.

The third-division Japanese club denied Creamline’s comeback attempt as Asaka Tamaru capped her sensational game with a cold-blooded ace in the fifth set to help the Ablaze the midseason tournament

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Saki Tanabe also came to the rescue for Kurashiki, scoring two consecutive clutch attacks to erase Creamline’s 13-12 lead and take the match point, 14-13, before Tamaru’s championship-clinching ace.

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Kurashiki became the first overseas team to rule the PVL, preventing Creamline from claiming its second straight title this season and in the Invitational Conference.

This is the first time that the Cool Smashers lost a championship-clinching game since the 2021 PVL bubble tournament in Ilocos Norte at the hands of the Chery Tiggo Crossovers. But Creamline remained the winningest club with six titles in nine finals appearances.

Kurashiki Ablaze beat Creamline Cool Smashers to rule PVL Invitational Conference

Kurashiki Ablaze beat Creamline Cool Smashers to rule PVL Invitational Conference. –MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

“We’re very happy and very appreciative of Ricky [Palou] because he invited us to this conference. Thank you very much,” said Kurashiki coach Hideo Suzuki through a translator, expressing they will 100 percent return if invited next season.

Tamaru and Tots Carlos traded hard-hitting attacks to carry their respective teams but the Japanese got the last laugh to win all their six matches in the midseason tournament.

Tamaru finished with a game-high 29 points including the heart-stopping ace that was challenged by Creamline but it clearly landed on the line of Creamline to cap a thrilling two-hour and 20-minute championship as the Japanese rushed to the court to celebrate their feat.

WATCH: Championship atmosphere here at Philsports Arena before the winner-take-all title match between Kurashiki and Creamline. #PVLInvitational2023 | via Lance Agcaoili

Posted by Inquirer Sports on Sunday, July 30, 2023

“It was a lucky ace,” said Tamaru after tallying 13 digs and 12 excellent receptions. “I’m very happy because we also have a league in Japan in November. This will help us level up. I will keep doing my best.”

Setter Kyoka Ohshima emerged as the Finals MVP with 19 excellent sets on top of five points as Akane Hiraoka chipped in 14 points. Yukino Nano and Miho Kawamura had 11 points each with the former also protecting the floor with 16 excellent receptions to help out libero Kaoru Takahashi, while Tanabe added 10 markers.

“I enjoyed it because we had a lot of audience. There is pressure but we played as one team. It was a good win,” said Ohshima.

Creamline Tots Carlos

Creamline’s Tots Carlos in the PVL Invitational Championship game. –MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

Carlos led the Cool Smashers with 27 points, 20 receptions, and 10 digs. Ced Domingo had a season-high 20 points including five blocks and two aces, as Galanza added 18 points.

Alyssa Valdez struggled with six points as she sat out in the last two sets limping back to the bench with Carlos playing as an outside spiker in the fourth and fifth sets, as Michele Gumabao was also instrumental with five points in the last three frames including the crucial attacks in the decider.

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De Guzman dished out 33 excellent sets on top of five points, nailing two clutch blocks in the fourth set as Creamline scored five straight points to end the fourth 25-20, and force a decider.

But the Cool Smashers settled for silver, failing to repeat their Invitational title run last year when they swept KingWhale Taipei in the 2022 final.

TAGS: Creamline Cool Smashers, Japan, PVL

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