Defending champion Creamline has nothing but the grand slam in mind when the Cool Smashers march back inside the court at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan for Game 2 of the best-of-three Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Reinforced Conference Finals on Saturday.
Drawing first blood, 24-26, 25-16, 25-16, 25-22, in the series opener on Wednesday, Creamline is now on the cusp of cementing its dynasty with another victory over PetroGazz in their 4:00 p.m. rematch.
The duel will air live on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23, ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166, LIGA SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD SkyCable Channel 183, iWant and via livestream after the individual awards following the battle for third game between BanKo and PacificTown Army.
Banking on their championship experience, the Cool Smashers, who swept last year's Reinforced and Open crowns, recovered from a set down for their 12th win in a row.
Now with a chance to make history, Creamline wants to approach the all-important game with the same mantra and mentality that brought them their previous 12 victories.
“I guess mina-mindset lang sa amin ni coach Tai (Bundit) all the time na to play happy, na walang pressure,” said skipper Alyssa Valdez, who is set to receive the conference Most Valuable Player award. “Kasi if we pressure ourselves to be perfect dun mahihirapan eh. ‘Yung flow naman ng game hindi naman laging perfect so we have to adjust.”
Backing Valdez for the title-clincher is a solid crew bannered by Thai import Kuttika Kaewpin, Venezuelan Ale Blanco, multi-awarded setter Jia Morado, Michele Gumabao and Risa Sato.
However, the Angels are not giving up without a fight.
“Sana, sana [wake up call] kasi sabi ko nga, ‘Kung ‘yung situation natin ngayon pinili natin ‘yan na mas mahirap talaga na ita-twice-to-beat natin sila so kung pinili natin ito, panindigan natin as a team and hindi as an individual,” said PetroGazz coach Arnold Laniog, who rued his squad’s 31 errors in Game 1.
Game 3, if necessary, is on Sunday at the Ynares Sports Center in Antipolo.
“[Sabi ko sa kanila] ’Kung gusto nating ma-extend ‘yung game sa Sunday, umpisahan natin sa training. Kailangan makita ko, maparamdam natin sa isa’t-isa,’” said Laniog challenging his wards. “‘Yung Creamline talaga kukunin na nila sa Saturday pero ang tanong gaano ba natin pipigilan talaga?’”
Top imports Cuban Wilma Salas and American Johnson together with Cherry Nunag, Jeanette Panaga, Paneng Mercado, libero Cienne Cruz and setter Djanel Cheng are ready to spoil Creamline’s celebration.
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