Cool Smashers take care of Air Force, take home bronze medal

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Aug 16, 2017 06:35 PM
Cool Smashers take care of Air Force, take home bronze medal
PODIUM FINISH. Creamline swept the three-game series against Air Force to seize the bronze medal in the tournament.

It was unable to sustain its strong start, but Creamline has nonetheless managed to salvage a podium finish in the 2017 Premier Volleyball League Open Conference.

Cesca Racraquin did the heavy lifting on offense, Ging Balse negated towering Dell Palomata, and the Cool Smashers breezed through the last three sets in their four-frame conquest of Philippine Air Force, 18-25, 26-24, 25-17, and 25-16, on Wednesday at the Filoil Flying V Centre.

While third-place isn’t the finish they wanted, especially after having swept the elimination round, assistant coach Oliver Almadro remains nothing but proud of what his girls have achieved. “As I’ve said before, I guess it’s not our time to be in the Finals, but we’re happy we ended it in winning fashion,” assistant coach Oliver Almadro said.

He then continued, “Third is better than nothing. We’re happy with this.”

Creamline lost top hitter Alyssa Valdez towards the end of eliminations and then all throughout the playoffs.

And in her place, new stars have simply shone such as Racraquin who had 18 points, 16 coming from spikes, in this one. “We’re happy with what she showed. Sana madala niya ‘to sa NCAA,” Almadro said.

It was also by the hand of the San Beda College star that the Cool Smashers capped off their series sweep of the Lady Jet Spikers.

Dropping the first set, Creamline quickly regrouped to register the next three sets in its favor. “Slow start kami, but alam niyo naman si coach Tai [Bundit], just be happy,” the assistant coach said.

Come the fourth set, they had complete control and led by as much as 21-12.

Air Force then put forth a last gasp only to see Racraquin finish them off for good.

Rosemarie Vargas and Rizza Mandapat also chipped in 11 points apiece for the Cool Smashers.

At the other end, Balse proved to be a wily veteran and frustrated the six-foot-three Palomata to only 12 points which she had to sweat for. “Nahugot na naman si Ging and she played really well,” Almadro said.

With their middle hitter unable to connect, the rest of the Lady Jet Spikers had a hard time as well and only converted 31 percent of their attempts.

Mary Ann Pantino topped the scoring column for Air Force with 16 points. They settle for a still respectable fourth-place finish.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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