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Creamline completes comeback, defends PVL All-Filipino title against Petro Gazz

JR Isaga

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Creamline completes comeback, defends PVL All-Filipino title against Petro Gazz

CHAMPS AGAIN. Creamline Cool Smashers celebrate a point at the PVL All-Filipino Conference finals

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The Alyssa Valdez-less Creamline shows the heart of a champion, defending its PVL All-Filipino title from one game down against longtime rival Petro Gazz in the do-or-die finals Game 3

MANILA, Philippines – The Creamline Cool Smashers showed the great heart of a champion as they rallied from a one-game deficit in the 2023 PVL All-Filipino Conference finals to successfully defend their title in Game 3 against the Petro Gazz Angels, 20-25, 25-20, 25-18, 25-15, on Thursday, March 30.

In front of 12,175 fans at the Mall of Asia Arena, Jema Galanza ran wild with 19 points, 16 excellent digs, and 11 excellent receptions, capped with the championship-winning crosscourt shot, while Michele Gumabao and Tots Carlos scored 18 and 16, respectively.

Kyla Atienza also shored up the defense with 24 excellent digs and 13 excellent receptions, while eventual Finals MVP Jia de Guzman added 18 excellent sets as the entire team stepped up amid the conference-long absence of superstar Alyssa Valdez.

Gaining much-needed momentum in a blowout third-set win, Creamline’s offense found an even higher gear in the fourth as it transformed a 6-4 lead to a 16-8 advantage off a 10-4 burst, capped by a Gumabao-Risa Sato double block.

That run spelled the beginning of the end for the hapless Angels, as a De Guzman late 1-2 play hiked the difference to 10, 21-11, before another Sato block pushed the titlists to championship-defending point, 24-14, and the rest was history.

With the title win, the Cool Smashers earned their sixth overall PVL championship in eight years and fourth All-Filipino plum, extending their huge title lead over the rest of league. The Angels remain a distant second with two titles, both coming from the Reinforced Conference.

“Of course, we’re really happy, because the series right now in the finals is not that easy, so we’re really happy that we got this one,” said Creamline head coach Sherwin Meneses in Filipino. “We even lost the first set, so we were really happy that the team was able to bounce back.”

Grethcel Soltones paced the heartbreaking loss with 17 points and 11 excellent digs, while Jonah Sabete scored 11 with 13 excellent digs.

The PVL returns with the 2023 Invitational Conference after the Southeast Asian Games in June. –

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