Loss of key players forces Creamline to use time-tested approach in title defense
As the errors piled up, so did Creamline’s resolve to find a way around them.
With its core that dominated the Premier Volleyball League losing two vital pieces, the Cool Smashers continue applying the tested trial and error approach in their All-Filipino Conference title defense.
“I think we have to go back to our system and keep on working, trying,” said Michele Gumabao after Creamline outlasted hungry Farm Fresh, 25-21, 21-25, 25-20, 25-22, on Tuesday at FilOil EcoOil Centre. “If something doesn’t work, then we try again. We know our mistakes so we know how to solve them.
“It’s a matter of who can quickly adjust in-game,” Gumabao went on as Creamline stayed at the top of the standings with its fourth straight win while keeping the hard-fighting Foxies winless in five games.F
arm Fresh is now on a 10-game losing streak dating back to its league debut in the Invitational Conference. But if the Foxies’ last two games are any indication, the team is ripe for a victory. Farm Fresh also stole a set off Akari—the first one, in fact—and fought as hard to the end of each frame as it did against the defending champions on Tuesday.
Creamline certainly did not help its cause, surrendering 30 points to Farm Fresh on errors. In contrast, the Foxies only had 19 errors. Before Tuesday night, the Cool Smashers had only surrendered one set, which was in its opening game victory to sister team and fellow powerhouse Choco Mucho.
“We had too many errors. We didn’t play well. Farm Fresh is really promising. As I’ve told my team, we cannot take it easy against the Foxies because they really have potential,” coach Sherwin Meneses said in Filipino. “If you give them a chance, they will really fight it out.”
Creamline is trying to fill in for the departures of top setter Jia de Guzman and starting middle blocker Ced Domingo, who both flew abroad to play as imports.
A defiant Chery Tiggo, meanwhile, bounced back from its first defeat by hammering Gerflor, 25-8, 25-12, 25-20, earlier.
Coming back from a stunning loss to Akari last Tuesday, the Crossovers were unrelenting in the first two sets, giving up just 20 points as they primed up for a big clash with Petro Gazz later this week.
“We just bounced back after a tough loss, one which doesn’t define us,” Eya Laure, who scored 12 points, said. “We just worked and moved forward.”
“We just have to be proactive to what happened because once we dwell on that, [it will be hard to continue],” coach Aaron Velez told reporters after Chery cruised to its second win in three games while dropping the Defenders to 0-4. “At the same time, we must have a sense of urgency. Every point, every set counts.”
“I think [the third set] is where we need to point out more, in our succeeding games, that we can’t be complacent despite our current run. Anything can change in the blink of an eye. Our momentum can shift anytime so we have to be aware of that,” Velez said.
“Whenever you’re given an opportunity … make the best out of it because you’ll never know when [you’ll have] that opportunity [again],” Velez added. “My players, what they delivered earlier, is really [coming] more from their experience and hopefully they gain from that.”