PVL Invitational

Creamline passes tough test, eyes guest teams

In a display of resilience and determination, Creamline proved that they are not only adept at taking the quick route to success but can also excel in prolonged battles. Once again, they found themselves in a five-set duel, and the Cool Smashers rose to the challenge, securing a hard-fought victory of 23-25, 25-16, 25-21, 24-26, 15-10 against the Cignal HD Spikers. The electrifying match took place before a packed weekend crowd at the scorching Philsports Arena in Pasig on Saturday evening, bolstering their campaign for a title retention in the Premier Volleyball League Invitational Conference.

This latest triumph extended Creamline’s winning streak to six games, including three 3-0 victories during the Pool A eliminations, giving them an impressive 3-0 record in the semifinals. Moreover, the victory created a significant gap between themselves and their closest competitors, as the HD Spikers now found themselves in a three-way tie for second place with the F2 Logistics Cargo Movers and the PLDT High Speed Hitters, all with a 1-2 win-loss record.

Coach Sherwin Meneses highlighted that Creamline has a proven track record in handling five-set matches, emphasizing that regardless of the outcome, his team always gives their all on the court. He expressed his satisfaction with the win and how it clarifies the team’s path towards the finals.

Meanwhile, guest teams Kurashiki Ablaze from Japan and Vietnam’s Kinh Bac-Bac Ninh side were making their debut in the single round of the semifinals of this mid-season offering organized by Sports Vision. Their matches were still ongoing at the time of reporting.

In the previous match, the Cool Smashers had triumphed over the Cargo Movers in a tightly contested encounter, securing a 12-25, 25-15, 23-25, 30-28, 15-7 victory. Creamline almost let a commanding 8-4 lead slip away in the decisive fifth set, but a crucial contested call allowed them to regroup, leading to a decisive 6-2 finish.

Team captain Alyssa Valdez expressed gratitude for the hard-earned victory, attributing the win to superior ball control and an unwavering desire to win. Valdez earned back-to-back Player of the Game honors, delivering an impressive 22-point performance, including two aces, following her 17-point outing against F2 Logistics.

During the intense match against Cignal, the HD Spikers fought valiantly to come back from a four-point deficit in the fifth set. Led by Ces Molina’s relentless attacks and a critical block by Rose Doria against Tots Carlos, they managed to tie the score at 8-8. However, a pivotal moment occurred when the Cool Smashers successfully challenged a net fault on Doria, securing the point for themselves. This shifted the momentum back in Creamline’s favor, enabling them to close out the match with a series of powerful attacks from the trio of Carlos, Jema Galanza, and Valdez.

Carlos emerged as the top scorer for Creamline with 27 points, while Galanza contributed 21 points, showcasing the team’s formidable hitting prowess. The Cool Smashers’ stellar defense upfront resulted in ten blocks, with four of them coming from Ced Domingo.

On the other side, Molina received solid support from Rachel Anne Daquis, Riri Meneses, and Jovelyn Gonzaga, who tallied 14, 12, and 11 points, respectively. Despite the HD Spikers’ valiant efforts and their previous four-match 3-0 winning streak, they fell short against the Cool Smashers’ strong finishing kick, suffering their first loss in the semifinals.