PVL: Creamline shuts down Farm Fresh challenge for 4-0 record
MANILA, Philippines — The Creamline Cool Smashers needed to stave off young Farm Fresh Foxies, 25-21, 21-25, 25-20, 25-22, to extend their unbeaten run to four games in the 2023 Premier Volleyball League (PVL) All-Filipino Conference on Tuesday at FilOIl EcoOil Centre in San Juan City.
The Cool Smashers leaned on the fiery tandem of Michele Gumabao and Jema Galanza to recover from a tough second-set loss to the winless Foxies, who pushed the defending champions to their limits behind the trio of Trisha Tubu, Kate Santiago, and Pia Ildefonso.
Gumabao continued to show the way with 20 points including two blocks, while Galanza delivered 18 points including two aces to go with 10 digs. Creamline stayed on top with a 4-0 record despite missing Jia De Guzman and Ced Domingo, who are playing overseas in Japan and Thailand, respectively.
Gumabao, who emerged as the leading scorer of Creamline, said they stuck to the system to withstand the tough challenge given to them by the Foxies.
“I think we just really have to go back to our system and keep on working, keep on trying. If it doesn’t work then we try again,” said the reigning Best Opposite Spiker. “We watched all their games and they’re coming from one system so they are familiar with each other’s movement. We just really have to focus on ourselves because we focus on our opponents and sometimes we rush things and play out of the system. So we went back to .”
Reigning Most Valuable Player Tots Carlos was also instrumental with 14 points on top of eight excellent receptions, while Bernadeth Pons provided quality minutes off the bench with nine points including the crucial attacks in the fourth set as Alyssa Valdez continued to see limited action with four points in the second and third frames.
Creamline recovered a 10-14 start in the fourth with Gumabao capping a 5-0 run with a big block on Ildefonso for the lead, 15-14. Pons broke a 17-all deadlock with three consecutive points before Galanza’s clutch attack for a 23-20 advantage.
Farm Fresh, though, pulled within one 23-22 on Creamline’s back-to-back errors but Kyle Negrito, who dished out 17 excellent sets, came to the rescue with a clutch 1-2 play coupled with Pangs Panaga’s game-winning hit.
“We had a lot of errors that’s why we didn’t play well. Farm Fresh is really a promising team. I told my team that we cannot underestimate them because they have the potential. If you give them a chance, they will really fight,” said Creamline coach Sherwin Meneses in Filipino after his team gave up 30 errors.
Creamline has more than a week to prepare for its finals rematch against unbeaten Petro Gazz (3-0) on November 9 at Philsports Arena.
Despite its gritty stand, a win remained elusive for Farm Fresh as it dropped to 0-5 with its 10th straight loss dating back to a winless Invitational Conference stint.
Tubu led the Foxies with 19 points including three blocks and an ace. Santiago chipped in 15 points, 12 receptions, and eight digs, while Ildefonso was a revelation in her first pro start with 12 points and 11 excellent receptions.
Farm Fresh seeks to end its losing streak against Cignal on Saturday at Philsports Arena.
Post game interview: Creamline Cool Smashers
Creamline coach Sherwin Meneses, Michele Gumabao, and Jema Galanza after staving off the gritty Farm Fresh. #PVL2023
Posted by Inquirer Sports on Tuesday, October 31, 2023