Creamline, Choco Mucho enter PVL semis riding hot streaks
No team has been able to touch Creamline with a 10-foot pole so far in the Premier Volleyball League All-Filipino Conference, and the Cool Smashers have shown no signs of slowing down.
After sweeping their 11-game elimination round schedule, the Cool Smashers are still looking to become better as the stakes get higher.
On Thursday, Creamline tries to put the sweep behind and focus on a new goal of bundling out Chery Tiggo at the start of their best-of-three semifinal series as the Cool Smashers look to win this conference for the second time this year, but without two players that formed the core of possibly the most fearsome team this league has seen.
“Our goal has been always been higher than the elimination round (performance),” coach Sherwin Meneses said in Filipino on the eve of their 4 p.m. clash at PhilSports Arena in Pasig. “The hard work continues for this team.”
Another team on a roll, Choco Mucho, will be battling Cignal in the 6 p.m. contest, with the Flying Titans, who won their last 10 games after losing in the blockbuster inaugurals to the Cool Smashers, favored to make it to their first title series appearance.
The Crossovers have a championship series win over the Cool Smashers, pulling it out two years ago in the bubble in Ilocos Norte during the Open Conference.
Becoming ace setter
Creamline, though has become better, a lot better since then, even after losing Jia de Guzman and Ced Domingo to leagues overseas as Meneses has consistently gotten others to step up.
Kyle Negrito is foremost among them as she assumed the starting setter’s role to great effect.
Her ability to spread the offense has effectively given Creamline a three-sided battering ram in the persons of Tots Carlos, Jema Galanza and Michelle Gumabao. And that’s not counting the seasoned Alyssa Valdez, who was given a rest by Meneses last Tuesday against a lowly opponent.
“Our priority was to rest Aly for the semis and get the most out from her there,” Meneses said.
Chery Tiggo was a formidable force early in the eliminations after going 8-1, only to lose its last two games to wind up No. 4 and drop into a pairing with Creamline.
Rookie Eya Laure will be the leader of this team, with the ex-Growling Tigress in the UAAP to get support from veterans Mylene Paat and Pauline Gaston.
Choco Mucho coach Dante Alinsunurin, meanwhile, believes that serving hard against Cignal will be key in their series.
“That’s the whole system of this team, to serve hard to control the tempo,” he said.