Creamline inspired by Jia De Guzman's message en route to Game 1 win | Inquirer Sports

Creamline inspired by Jia De Guzman’s message en route to Game 1 win

/ 11:04 PM December 14, 2023

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A special message from Creamline Cool Smashers' Jia de Guzman ahead of the PVL Finals Game 1.

A special message from Creamline Cool Smashers’ Jia de Guzman ahead of the PVL Finals Game 1. –LANCE AGCAOILI

MANILA, Philippines — Creamline got a special call from Jia De Guzman all the way from Osaka, Japan moments before its first Finals match against sister team  Choco Mucho in the 2023 Premier Volleyball League (PVL) second All-Filipino Conference on Thursday.

Before the Cool Smashers’ starters were introduced, a recorded call of De Guzman with her Alyssa Valdez was flashed on the screen of the Mall of Asia Arena with the eight-time best setter wishing her team good luck in their 10th finals appearance without her for the first time due to her ongoing V.League stint with the Denso Airybees.

The star playmaker’s message inspired the Cool Smashers, who unleashed a collective effort to stay unbeaten in 14 games and stave off first-time finalists, Flying Titans, 25-23, 19-25, 26-24, 25-22, inching closer to an All-Filipino “three-peat.”

De Guzman tweeted “My heart!” filled with pink heart emojis shortly after Creamline’s win.

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Valdez, who had 11 points including the clutch kills in the third set, admitted she missed playing with De Guzman, her setter since college, but she is happy for her longtime teammate living her dream in Japan.

“It’s my first time to play with Creamline na wala si Jia, so medyo iba rin yung dating sa amin, but we’ve been playing with Kyle din naman. Nakaka-miss din si Jia kasi iba rin yung composure niya in terms of these big games. But we’re really happy for her kasi ang ganda rin naman ng pinapakita niya sa Japan and we’re looking forward na sana mag-reunite kami soon, may it be on or off the court,” said the three-time PVL MVP.

Growth and maturity

Creamline Cool Smashers' Alyssa Valdez.

Creamline Cool Smashers’ Alyssa Valdez. –PVL PHOTO

The 30-year-old Valdez, who didn’t play in the first All-Filipino Conference due to her injury, praised the growth and maturity of the Cool Smashers as others stepped up despite missing De Guzman and middle blocker Ced Domingo, who is playing in Thailand for Nakhon Ratchasima.

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“Grabe yung growth and maturity ng lahat. Andami rin naming pinagdaanan, there was this conference na ako yung wala at nandun naman sina Jia. Ang ganda rin nung naging setup ng mga nangyari sa amin, and now, even if kung sino yung ipasok ni coach, talagang may identity na,” she said. “Kilala na nila yung sarili nila on how they play and how we play as a team. So I think a very crucial part is we have to stick to the system talaga. At least, very happy, very proud of all of them.”

Jema Galanza, who also led the way for Creamline with 16 points, said she was inspired by De Guzman’s message.

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“Since Day 1 namin, lagi siyang nagttext samin goodluck, galingan namin and kahit sa personal messages namin, talagang nagogoodluck and lagi nagsasabi na lumaban lang kami and sobrang happy lang na nakita ko siya kanina sa screen kasi syempre nakakamiss siya sa loob ng court kasi iba din talaga si Ate Jia, kung gano siya kakalma, kung gano niya pinapagalaw din yung team namin. So, thank you so much Ate Jia,” Galanza said.

Although they missed De Guzman, Creamline coach Sherwin Meneses and Tots Carlos credited their unbeaten run and current success to setter Kyle Negrito, who had 22 excellent sets in Game 1.

“Actually namimiss namin si Jia pero syempre, trabaho ko volleyball so kailangan namin mag-move on. Naka move on na kami so, kasi yung nilalaro ni Kyle ngayon, sobrang taas talaga. Pero syempre namimiss namin si Jia, pero Kyle is nandito,” Meneses said. “Si Kyle ang talagang kumbaga pumalit kay Jia so lahat ng pressure nasakanya, nalalampasan niya so about volleyball, nandiyan naman si Kyle pero personality namin sa team talagang namimiss din namin siya.”

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“Before naman umalis si ate Jia, na-mindset naman na kami. So yun nga, kagaya ng sinabi ni coach nung nalaman namin yun, we’re prepared going to the season na si Kyle [Negrito] talaga yung maglalaro. So we really appreciate si coach na talagang tinutulungan niya yung buong team and si Kyle talagang nagse-step up din,” said Carlos, who had 16 points.

Creamline tries to clinch its first title without De Guzman in Game 2 on Saturday, gunning for its seventh overall title and fifth All-Filipino crown.

TAGS: Alyssa Valdez, Creamline Cool Smashers, Jia De Guzman, PVL

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