MANILA, Philippines – For the third straight game in the 2023 PVL All-Filipino Conference, the Creamline Cool Smashers cruised to a clean sweep on Tuesday, February 14, this time at the expense of their sister team, the Choco Mucho Flying Titans.
Unlike Creamline’s first two assignments, however, this particular straight-sets win was a clear-cut Valentine’s Day heartbreaker to Choco Mucho, as three Cool Smashers notched 15 points apiece in a 25-18, 25-13, 25-14 masterclass.
As Jema Galanza, Michele Gumabao, and Ced Domingo took turns ganging up on the hapless Flying Titans, no one was happier for their respective performances than the offense’s on-court architect, Jia de Guzman.
Unable to hide her happiness at the postgame presser, she said, “[I’m] very happy because everyone’s really stepping up. If there’s someone struggling to score, everyone is there to cover, to help. Even if the second ball doesn’t come from me, everyone knows how to set.”
Despite Creamline never needing a fourth or fifth set in its first three games, De Guzman has not dipped below 20 excellent sets in each contest so far, and tallied 25 more against Choco Mucho in just 76 attempts – a testament to her last quote about not always needing the second ball to have a great set.
Head coach Sherwin Meneses, who at this time is not surprised by anything her star playmaker does, still gave her ample praise after the game.
“Yeah, her distribution is really great today,” he said in Filipino. “Of course, that starts with good passes that translate to good defense and good receptions, so Jia doesn’t struggle too much. You just know what she will do after receiving the ball.”
Creamline has done all this so far without the in-game support of injured superstar Alyssa Valdez, who is still doing whatever she can during games to make an impact to her teammates.
“We still miss having Ate Ly inside the court,” De Guzman continued. “But at the same time, we know that as a team we need to level up our games further so we can also win the following games.”
While Valdez continues her right knee recovery, the Cool Smashers can rest assured that leadership will not be in short supply the rest of the way, as De Guzman has proven time and again throughout their long, storied reign at the top. – Rappler.com
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