Cool Smashers inch closer to a Finals berth

Mark Escarlote on Aug 05, 2017 06:35 PM
Cool Smashers inch closer to a Finals berth
Creamline is just a win away from punching a Finals ticket.

Creamline inched a win closer to a Finals berth after outlasting BaliPure, 25-19, 13-25, 28-26, 18-25,15-7, sans top hitter Alyssa Valdez in Game 1 of the best-of-three Premier Volleyball League Open Conference semifinals series Saturday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.

The Cool Smashers can close the series Sunday to advance in the best-of-three championship showdown against the survivor between Pocari Sweat and Philippine Air Force in the other Final Four pairing.

Creamline assistant coach Oliver Almadro credited the win to his players' team effort to extend their winning streak to eight after sweeping the elimination round and most importantly move a step away for a breakthrough Finals appearance.  

“Unang-una the team naman is ready naman to play without Alyssa. Everyday nire-ready sila ni coach Tai (Bundit) so without Alyssa we’re happy, with Alyssa we’re very happy,” he said. “Everybody showed their heart, nagtulung-tulong talaga, it’s their teamwork and a find-a-away-make-a-way system.”

Creamline played without Valdez, who was in uniform but didn’t see action, after the management decided to sit her out for the rest of the conference because of health reasons heading into her stint with the national team in the AVC Asian Senior Women's Championship on August 9 to 17 and the 29th Kuala Lumpur Southeast Asian Games on August 19 to 31.  

Rosemarie Vargas scored all but one of her 19 points from attacks while veteran Pau Soriano had 14 kills, three aces and an ace in an 18-point performance for Creamline. Rizza Mandapat and Cesca Racraquin finished with 11 markers each while MJ Balse had 10 for the Cool Smashers.

Jia Morado got 51 excellent sets in Creamline's 59 attack points.

After a seesaw battle in the first four frames, the Cool Smashers raced to a 12-4 lead in the fifth frame to take the fight out of the Water Defenders. 

Jerrili Malabanan and Grethcel Soltones scored 19 points each while Risa Sato and Jasmine Nabor, who dished out 46 excellent frames, added 13 points apiece for BaliPure. Aiko Urdas had 12 in a lost cause.

Game 3, if necessary, is on Wednesday.

   

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