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The Creamline Cool Smashers got back to their winning ways in the 2021 Premier Volleyball League Open Conference as they swept the Cignal HD Spikers out of playoff contention, 25-22, 27-25, 25-19, on Monday, August 2.
After seeing their two-year, 25-game winning streak snapped at the hands of Chery Tiggo, the defending conference champions quickly got back on track, and clinched at least a playoff for the semifinals with a 6-2 record.
Meanwhile, Cignal plummeted to the bottom with a 1-6 slate, right along with its sister team PLDT Home Fibr.
Alyssa Valdez again delivered in the clutch, and finished with 14 points off 11 attacks, 2 aces, and a block to earn Player of the Game honors.
Michelle Gumabao backed her up with 11 markers off 10 spikes while super sub Tots Carlos fired off 6 points, all coming in the grind-out final frame.
Down two sets with their playoff hopes on the line, Cignal dug deep, and fought point for point to take a late 19-18 lead off a Valdez attack error.
However, the national team superstar immediately atoned for her late mishit, and sparked a 7-0 finishing kick to end the HD Spikers’ gallant stand for good.
“Hindi naman kami nagpahinga. Talagang lumaban lang ‘yung Cignal,” said assistant coach Sherwin Meneses after the gritty win. “Maganda ‘yung ginalaw nila. Buti na lang nakabawi kami nung third set, so lesson ‘din sa amin ‘yun.”
(We didn’t let up. Cignal just really fought hard. They moved well. Thankfully, we got them back in the third set, so that’s a lesson for us as well.)
The story of the third set was almost a rerun of the second, where Cignal turned a late 17-22 deficit to a 25-24 set point off a clutch 8-2 run.
But Valdez again chose her spots correctly, and reversed momentum back to Creamline off a solo block for the 26-25 lead, which Gumabao gladly followed up with a booming set-sealing kill.
Klarisa Abriam picked up the slack in the tough loss with 13 points off 9 attacks, 2 blocks, and 2 aces as Cignal played on without team captain Rachelle Anne Daquis, and stalwart hitter May Luna.
The Cool Smashers can restart their winning streak as early as Wednesday, August 4, but they will have to take down their undefeated sister team Choco Mucho Flying Titans in a highly-anticipated 6 pm showdown.
Meanwhile, the HD Spikers will be shelved for four days before they return on Friday, August 6, in a 1 pm match against the Black Mamba Army Lady Troopers. – Rappler.com