Cool Smashers tie series, stay in the hunt for a Finals spot
Mark Escarlote on Jun 06, 2017 09:31 PM
Creamline forced a best-of-three semifinals decider against BaliPure.
Creamline survived a thrilling five-set match against top seed BaliPure, 24-26, 25-18, 18-25, 25-16, 16-14, Tuesday night to force a decider in their Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference best-of-three semifinals series at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City.
Superstar Alyssa Valdez, American import Laura Schaudt and Thai reinforcement Kuttika Kaewpin teamed up to carry the fight for the Cool Smashers in the fifth set, nailing important attacks and timely defensive stops to stave off the Water Defenders’ repeated comeback attempts. It was Creamline's first win against BaliPure in four meetings in the tournament.
Game 3 is on Thursday.
Kaewpin drilled 23 points coming off 20 attacks and three kill blocks while Schaudt scored 22 markers for Creamline. Valdez added 15 points while Pau Soriano chipped in eight markers highlighted by a kill block against Water Defenders American import Jennifer Keddy to close the duel.
“Buti na lang 'yung mga crucial point napunta sa amin 'yung break,” said Creamline assistant coach Sherwin Meneses. “Kasi five sets 'yun, all-14, so break na lang halos 'yun.”
The Cool Smashers controlled most of the fifth set and even built a 12-8 lead but BaliPure behind Keddy and Grethcel Soltones fired back to tie the frame at 13. A kill block by Keddy on Valdez gave the Water Defenders its first taste of the lead in the deciding set. Kaewpin evened the frame at 14 with a missile.
Valdez gave the match point advantage back to Creamline with an off the block hit before Soriano's defensive gem to seal the Cool Smashers revenge win after absorbing a 25-22, 23-25, 14-25, 21-25, loss in the series opener last Saturday.
Keddy finished with 23 points, Soltones had 16 markers while Jerrili Malabanan and Risa Sato combined for 18 points for BaliPure, which gave away 33 points off errors.
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