Lady Warriors, Cool Smashers clash to solidify semis bid
Mark Escarlote on May 30, 2017 08:13 AM
Creamline and Pocari Sweat look to inch closer to clinching a semis seat in collision.
Expect fireworks when Creamline and Pocari Sweat collide Tuesday in a pivotal encounter in the round robin quarterfinals of the Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Both teams will march into battle carrying the momentum of their respective morale-boosting opening day victories, making the 4:00 p.m. tussle an even match. The game will air via livestream.
The winner will move a step closer to clinching one of the last two best-of-three semifinals berths.
Behind the inspired play of local superstar Alyssa Valdez, Thai reinforcement Kuttika Kaewpin and American import Laura Schaudt, the Cool Smashers scored their first back-to-back victories in the tournament last Saturday with a hard-earned, 25-16, 9-25, 17-25, 25-13, 15-13, win over Perlas.
Heading into the match, Creamline will have a slight psychological advantage after snapping the Lady Warriors’ six-game prelims winning streak 11 days ago in a 21-25, 25-18, 25-20, 25-13, decision.
The Cool Smashers will also face a team that has lost Bosnian import Edina Selimovic because of a tournament-ending right hamstring injury.
But Creamline assistant coach Oliver Almadro is wary of Pocari Sweat’s caliber especially will top hitter Myla Pablo back in the fold after missing two games.
Pablo, who aggravated a lingering back spasm last May 18 in the second set of the Lady Warriors’ five-set win over semis-bound BaliPure, dropped 28 points in her return last Saturday in the Lady Warriors’ win over Philippine Air Force, 21-25, 25-23, 19-25, 25-14, 15-10, that snapped the team’s two-game slide.
“Coming from a good win (ang Pocari Sweat) well as I can say is talagang great teams will push us forward,” said Almadro. “Nakita naman namin how Pocari played and siguro magdo-double time kami sa preparation namin and we will just believe that no matter what mararating naming (ang semifinals).”
A sentiment he shared with Valdez.
“They had a good win, maganda 'yung momentum nila,” said Valdez of te squad that defeated them in their first prelims meeting. “Pocari will always have the heart of champions.”
Aside from Pablo, the Lady Warriors will also bank on American import Michelle Strizak and local Jeannette Panaga, Elaine Kasilag, Cai Nepomuceno and veteran libero Mel Gohing.
Meanwhile, Cignal (3-1) and Sta. Elena (3-1) dispute a spot in the top two of the semifinals in their 1:00 p.m. clash in the men’s division.
Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles