Creamline made its intention of keeping the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Open Conference title known on Sunday.
Displaying fluid offense, the reigning champs Cool Smashers gave returning Philippine Air Force a rude welcome with a 25-23, 25-20, 25-15, victory to open the season-ending tournament at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Team captain Alyssa Valdez, Michele Gumabao, Risa Sato and Jema Galanza found their marks for Creamline to keep the Jet Spikers, who are back in the league after skipping the Reinforced Conference, at bay and wrap their first win in dominating fashion.
The Cool Smashers won an opening day match for the first time in three conferences after absorbing a five-set defeat to PetroGazz in the same conference last year and a straight sets loss to the Angels in the import-laden tournament.
“So hard. I think every start of the conference, there’s this feeling na you don’t know what to expect from your opponents,” said Valdez. “Air Force, we haven’t seen them play for the longest time. Nandun pa si Myla (Pablo) and (Jeanette) Panaga, and they're a completely different team.”
Gumabao led Creamline's balance scoring with 14 points - all coming off attacks - while Valdez had 13 markers built on 10 spikes, two aces and a kill block laced with 12 digs and seven excellent receptions. Risa Sato and Galanza hammered 11 and nine points, respectively, for the Cool Smashers.
Creamline needed some time to get its game going with Air Force keeping the battle tight in the opening frame. With momentum on their side, the Cool Smashers took the next two frames with ease as they built an early lead to cruise to a 79-minute victory.
“We’re really expecting a long and hard match but definitely in the first set, even as a team, nag-adjust din kami,” Valdez said.
Jia Morado tallied 23 excellent sets to help the Cool Smashers nail 48 attack points while Kyla Atienza manned the floor well with 22 digs. Creamline also had its service game going with six aces and kept its errors down to only 15.
Dell Palomata finished in double figures with 14 points while May Ann Pantino had 10 markers for Air Force.
Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles