MANILA, Philippines – Showing composure down the stretch, Creamline held off Petro Gazz, 25-14, 25-22, 27-25, to move within a win of a tournament sweep in the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Open Conference on Wednesday, November 6 at FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan City.
The Angels put up a fight in the last two sets, but the Cool Smashers banked on Jia Morado's impressive playmaking to preserve their unbeaten run.
The national team setter dished out 21 excellent sets as Alyssa Valdez fired crucial aces late in the game and scored 17 of her 19 points from attack kills in Game 1 of the best-of-three title series.
Jema Galanza had an MVP-like performance and put up 15 points along with 10 excellent digs while Michelle Gumabao chipped in 10 markers.
Creamline did not waste any moment and started to pull away from the get-go as Gumabao's kill gave the Cool Smashers a 20-18 lead while Morado capped their 11-point set win with her classic drop ball.
Petro Gazz, though, looked more composed in the 2nd frame and grabbed a six-point advantage, 13-7 off Gumabao's error.
But Galanza's scoring spree and Creamline's solid floor defense turned things around as they unleashed a 7-1 run to grab a one-point lead heading to a technical timeout.
Despite wasting their lead, the Angels recovered and even took a slim separation, 20-18 before Morado masterfully orchestrated their offense that led to a commanding 24-21 advantage.
The Cool Smashers erased Petro Gazz’s two-point lead late in the 3rd all thanks to Valdez’s resurgence, but back-to-back hits from Kai Baloaloa and Jonah Sabete gave the Angels set point, 24-23.
Crucial service errors from Jeanette Panaga and Baloaloa proved costly, though, for Petro Gazz as Galanza took over and delivered the finishing touches for Creamline.
Sabate topscored for the Angels with 12 markers while Jovielyn Prado added 11 points.
Aside from vying for another Open Conference title, the Cool Smashers will try to complete a rare tournament sweep in Game 2 on Saturday, November 9 at 6 pm.
Battle for bronze: BanKo draws first blood, sweeps Motolite
Earlier, the BanKo Perlas Spikers silenced the Motolite squad in Game 1 of the battle for 3rd as they notched a straight-set victory, 25-23, 25-23, 25-18.
The match started out close, but the veteran players of the Perlas Spikers provided the much-needed firepower as Nicole Tiamzon led their offense with 13 points while Sue Roces and Dzi Gervacio chipped in 11 markers apiece.
Kathy Bersola displayed dominance in the net and scored 10 points, including 4 of her team's 8 blocks as Jem Ferrer posted 11 excellent sets and 10 excellent digs.
Tots Carlos heated up late in the opening frame to knot the score at 21, but BanKo regained its lead all thanks to Tiamzon and Gervacio's kills.
Motolite looked to bounce back and found themselves with a three-point advantage, 20-17, in the 2nd set before the Perlas Spikers shifted gears and unleashed a 6-0 run to create enough separation, 23-20.
BanKo continued to frustrate the error-prone Power Builders as Tiamzon, Bersola and Gervacio scored the last 3 points of the Perlas Spikers.
Carlos and Pablo took charge for Motolite and finished with 14 markers each.
Both squads will meet again on Saturday at 4 pm. – Rappler.com