The Creamline Cool Smashers had to work for nearly every point as they eked out a grueling four-set win, 26-24, 26-28, 25-22, 25-20, over their Premier Volleyball League rival Petro Gazz Angels at the Bacarra, Ilocos Norte bubble.
National team setter Jia Morado led the way as the Player of the Game with 35 excellent sets to go with 3 points. Team captain Alyssa Valdez triple-doubled with 16 points, 21 excellent digs, and 18 excellent receptions while Jeanette Panaga chipped in 15 markers.
Creamline newcomer Tots Carlos also showed great potential in the win with 7 points off the bench in the latter two sets.
The victory gave Creamline a share of the early lead with Chery Tiggo at 2-0.
Off a drawn-out war in the first three frames, the Angels looked primed to force a fifth set decider after a torrid 11-4 start, capped by back-to-back Mean Mendrez points. However, Creamline dug deep and rallied right back with a 14-5 blitz to seize an 18-16 lead.
Although Grethcel Soltones managed to inch her team within two, 20-22, Petro Gazz ultimately got their tanks drained before the finish line as multiple late errors swerved the game in the Cool Smashers’ favor for good.
Ces Molina led the Angels’ valiant stand with 18 points while national team libero Kath Arado grinded out 26 excellent digs and 19 excellent receptions.
After an exhausting affair, assistant coach Sherwin Meneses could only tip his hat to Creamline’s finals foe in the 2019 Open and Reinforced Conferences for yet another rivalry-worthy fight.
“Siyempre Petro Gazz, ready din sila sa recruitment nila at maganda. Sana next time maganda laruin namin,” he said.
(Of course, Petro Gazz is also ready and they did well in their recruitment. For us, hopefully we play better next game.)
Both teams again showed that top-tier recruitment and balance in their rosters as they went back-and-forth in the crucial third set.
After Petro Gazz started strong with a 7-0 attack for the 10-8 lead, Creamline struck right back with an 8-0 response to create a 16-10 gap. However, the Angels soared back up with another 7-0 spurt to take a momentary 17-16 lead before Carlos closed out the frame in Creamline’s favor, 25-22.
Creamline will get a one day break from that whooping and will next try to protect their 22-game winning streak against Black Mamba Army on Thursday, July 22.
Meanwhile, Petro Gazz will get two days off before pushing for a return to the win column against the Cignal HD Spikers on Friday, July 23. – Rappler.com