Valdez-less Cool Smashers gun for a semis berth
Mark Escarlote on Jul 18, 2017 08:02 PM
Kailangan sa lahat ng spikers kailangan mag-connect ako -- Jia Morado on leading Creamline in its first game without ace spiker Alyssa Valdez
Undefeated Creamline guns for the first semifinals berth sans top hitter Alyssa Valdez when the Cool Smashers clash with the Power Smashers Wednesday in the inaugural Premier Volleyball League Open Conference at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Game time is at 4:00 p.m. and will air live on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23, ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166 and via livestream.
Valdez will be out for the remainder of the elimination round as she joined the national team in its training camp in Japan that will run from July 17 to August 2 as part of the Pinay volleybelles’ preparation for the upcoming AVC Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship and the 29th Kuala Lumpur Southeast Asian Games next month.
Creamline is perfect after four games and is coming off a 25-15, 17-25, 25-19, 25-19, win over erstwhile unbeaten powerhouse Pocari Sweat last Saturday behind Valdez’s 30-point explosion.
The task of leading the Cool Smashers now at the hands of top setter Jia Morado. With Valdez, who is averaging 27 points per game, out of their rotation, Morado will have to find other options on offense.
“Every game na nilalaro namin, pinaghahandaan namin ang kalaban. Inaaral talaga namin and tina-try namin talaga na mag-jell as a team para hindi lang ako nagko-connect sa isang spiker,” said Morado, who is averaging 12.06 excellents sets per frame. “Kailangan sa lahat ng spikers kailangan mag-connect ako and we’re working on our defense and receive.”
Veterans Rosemarie Vargas, Pau Soriano, Ivy Remulla and Rizza Mandapat are expected to step up to fill in the huge scoring hole left by Valdez especially against the Power Smashers side coming off a morale-boosting win.
The Power Smashers arrested a three-game skid after upending BanKo-Perlas, 25-22, 16-25, 26-24, 23-25, 15-12, last Saturday. They are tied with University of the Philippines, Adamson University and BanKo-Perlas at fifth to eight spots.
Regine Arocha, Jovielyn Prado, Dimdim Pacres and Wynneth Eulalio will spearhead the Nes Pamilar-coached team’s drive to score its first back-to-back wins.
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