Hometown hero Alyssa Valdez stars as Cool Smashers gain PVL quarters
MANILA, Philippines – Local hero Alyssa Valdez fired 22 points as Creamline flaunted endgame poise in the last two sets to subdue a surprisingly tough Tacloban side, 25-14, 27-25, 26-24, and secure a quarterfinal berth in the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Reinforced Conference on Sunday, May 27, at the Batangas City Sports Coliseum in Batangas.
Valdez, who hails from San Juan, Batangas, had 14 kills and 8 services aces, 3 of which she delivered in a crucial windup in the 3rd that allowed the Cool Smashers to regain control after trailing the Fighting Warays in the second and 3rd frames.
“It’s always exciting to play not only in my hometown but out-of-town in general because of the crowd. They’re very energetic,” said Valdez. “The game also got tiring, especially the last two sets but I was able to draw energy from the crowd.”
The Cool Smashers dominated the Fighting Warays in the opening frame, only to struggle in the face of the latter’s spirited charge in the next two.
But they bucked the pressure and showed composure in each extended set to complete the straight-set win, their 4th against a loss to seize the solo lead and gain a spot in the quarters of the season-opening conference of the league organized by Sports Vision.
But Creamline wants to nail one of the two outright semis seats with the Cool Smashers facing title favorite Water Defenders on Saturday, June 2, and the Iriga Navy Lady Oragons on June 6.
Thai Kuttika Kaewpin backed Valdez with 16 hits while Serbian Nikolina Asceric highlighted her 9-point effort with a couple of kill blocks. Risa Sato also scored on quick hits and a pair of aces for 7 points.
Julia Morado, who scored two points, tossed in all but one of the Cool Smashers’ 30 excellent sets while spiking her effort with 8 digs.
Thais Hyapha Amporn and Sasiwimol Sangpan combined for 25 points while Jovielyn Prado scored 11 points for the Fighting Warays, who led by many as 6 in the second, 7-13, and 4 in the 3rd, 18-22, before yielding in the end.
It was Tacloban’s second straight setback as the Warays dropped to joint 5th with the PetroGazz Angels at 2-3 heading to the final week of elims of the tournament backed by Mikasa and Asics.