PVL: Eyes on the prize for the Cool Smashers

By Mark Escarlote on Jul 06, 2019 08:48 PM

The team right now, nobody’s thinking about the winning streak, nobody’s thinking about the past. We’re just really focusing in the Finals -- Michele Gumabao

ANTIPOLO --- Defending champion Creamline has strung up 11 straight victories on its way to the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Reinforced Conference Finals.

But the streak, as far as the Cool Smashers are concerned, doesn’t matter anymore.

Creamline’s focus right now is the best-of-three championship showdown against a very hungry PetroGazz squad.    

“Kinalimutan na namin ang 11 wins na ‘yun,” said Cool Smashers veteran Michele Gumabao.

After suffering a stunning straight sets loss to the Angels to open the import-laden conference, Creamline racked up 11 straight victories capped by Saturday’s 25-12, 25-18, 25-13, Game 2 Final Four win over PacificTown Army Saturday at the Ynares Sports Center here for the Cool Smashers’ third Finals appearance in a row.

Now with a possible grand slam within its grasp, Creamline sets its eyes on the ultimate prize.       

“The team right now, nobody’s thinking about the winning streak, nobody’s thinking about the past. We’re just really focusing in the Finals,” added Gumabao. “Everybody’s preparing for the Finals.”

Game 1 of the Finals is on Wednesday in an interesting pairing with no team having a clear advantage over the other.

The two teams, which closed the elims with identical 9-1 win-loss slates, split their first two meetings.   

PetroGazz will be third team to challenge Creamline for supremacy after the Cool Smashers conquered PayMaya in the same edition last year and Ateneo-Motolite in the Open Conference.

“Every finals, actually, iba-iba ang kalaban namin and it's good kasi alam namin na we are consistent as a team, consistent in our teamwork, in our preparation and in our practices,” said Gumabao, who scored eight points including two off kill blocks.

Creamline will parade an experienced core composed of Thai Kuttika Kaewpin, top hitter Alyssa Valdez, middle Risa Sato and setter Jia Morado.

The addition of Venezuelan Ale Blanco gives the Cool Smashers a solid presence at the net.    

“Pagdating sa finals, karamihan sa amin may experience na, playing in the Finals and for the championship, almost everyone,” the opposite spiker said. “I'm just happy that our imports, especially si Ale, who is the new one this year, she's also a veteran and she's composed. So, that really contributes kung paano kami sa loob ng court, hindi nara-rattle, hindi kinakabahan.”



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