Valdez-less Cool Smashers show heart in seizing first semis spot

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Jul 19, 2017 06:48 PM
Valdez-less Cool Smashers show heart in seizing semis spot
DENIED. Jia Morado and Pau Soriano made sure Creamline wasn't at the wrong end of an upset by the Power Smashers.

For the first time in five games in the 2017 Premier Volleyball League Open Conference, Creamline was without Alyssa Valdez.

And still, for the fifth time in five games, Creamline came out on top.

With Rosemarie Vargas and Pau Soriano taking over scoring and Jia Morado filling in as leader, the Cool Smashers frustrated the Power Smashers in straight sets, 25-22, 25-21, and 25-22, on Wednesday at the Filoil Flying V Centre.

Valdez, who is averaging 27 points per game, is fulfilling her duties with the national team and will not be suiting up for the rest of the elimination round of the tournament. “Sa umpisa talaga, we were looking for our firepower, but along the way, nakita na nang team na kailangan nang tumrabaho,” coach Oliver Almadro said.

Indeed, Creamline proved to be more than capable in marching forward in its first game without its top hitter. “Yung resiliency namin, nandun. As you can see, everybody delivered,” Almadro said.

In all three frames, the Cool Smashers found themselves trailing after the second technical timeout only to come roaring right back and stealing the set.

Vargas was at the forefront of the four-point comeback in the first as well as the six-point comeback in the second sets.

Come the third set, it was then Soriano who took charge and had three points in Creamline’s 5-0 run to close the contest.

In the end, Vargas and Soriano had 15 points apiece while Coleen Bravo added 13 markers of her own. “Ang pinakamaganda, they are trusting each other, they are confident to play with each other, they are happy playing with each other,” Almadro expressed.

As always, all of those came courtesy of the floor direction of Morado who registered 62 excellent sets.

Now with a 5-0 record, the Cool Smashers have assured themselves of a seat in the semifinals. “Malaking bagay para sa amin na we started [the season] right so we really have to end it right din,” the coach said.

By then, Valdez will be back in action.

With or without her, however, Almadro said they remain confident. “We’re always telling our players na Creamline is not about Alyssa,” he said.

For the Power Smashers, Jovelyn Prado top-scored with 15 points.

She only had Regine Arocha with 10 points to help her, however, as they lost for the fourth time in five games.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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