It is fact that Creamline has a really stacked line-up, but prized hitter Alyssa Valdez sees one very important advantage against the competition.
Setter Jia Morado.
“One of our advantages as a team aside from chemistry is really Jia,” said Valdez as the Cool Smashers gear up to defend their title in the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Reinforced Conference.
Valdez and Morado will be back for the import-laden tournament together with a solid local line-up along with Thai import Kuttika Kaewpin and Venezuelan veteran Aleoscar Blanco.
“Madami kaming players na magagaling na spikers but I think Jia will play a crucial role and a crucial player in our team because she’s gonna run the plays,” said Valdez, who has been teammates with Morado since their UAAP days with Ateneo de Manila University. “She’s the one who would decide kung kanino niya ibibigay ang bola. With Jia, we’re really (going to) be composed. Hopefully ma-achieve namin ang goal namin.”
Morado welcomes the beautiful problem of having a vast arsenal of talent to work with.
“Oo naman. It’s hard kasi iba-iba sila ng sets pero parang nakikita ko naman and nakikita rin naman ng coach namin how we can utilize ‘yung strengths ng bawat players sa loob ng court,” said Morado.
The playmaker will get a lot of scoring options in Valdez, their imports and local stars in Jema Galanza, newcomer Heather Guino-o, Michele Gumabao, Pau Soriano, Rissa Sato, Coleen Bravo, Rizza Mandapat, Fille Cainglet-Cayetano, Rose Vargas and Celine Domingo. Setting up the plays will also be an easy task for Morado with reliable liberos in Mel Gohing and Kyla Atienza while she can get a good rest if needed with another veteran playmaker Kyle Negrito coming off the bench.
However, Morado down plays their tag as a ‘super team’.
“I don’t think we’re the super team,” she said. “I think all of the teams are equally strong this year. It just boils down to who jells well with their imports.”
“Kasi we’re not only looking at all-Filipino line-ups eh, na-up pa ng level with a couple of imports per team,” the three-time Best Setter added. “So dun ang question kung sino ang aabot ng dulo and kung sino ang kayang i-absorb ng import ang system ng team.”
Morado points out that the strength of Creamline is not with the names of their stars, but on the roles they are willing play to help the cause.
“We’re still hoping na balance pa rin ang offense namin na we’re not relying too much on our imports, we’re noyt relying on a couple of locals. We’re relying on a balance scoring offense,” said Morado.
The Cool Smashers open their campaign on Sunday against PetroGazz.
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