PVL: Lady Warriors crush Cool Smashers in semis opener
Mark Escarlote on Jul 01, 2018 03:36 PM
Defending champion Pocari Sweat-Air Force swept top seed Creamline to move closer to a Finals berth.
Defending champion Pocari Sweat-Air Force took advantage of Creamline’s rusty outing to inch closer to a return stint in the Finals.
Riding the crest of its momentum-building quarterfinals quest, the Lady Warriors looked sharp compared to the Cool Smashers, who came from a long layoff, to draw first blood in the best-of-three Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Reinforced Conference semifinals, 25-23, 25-12, 25-23, Sunday at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Myla Pablo and American import Ari Love showed the way for the no. 4 Pocari Sweat to silence the top seed Creamline, which bagged the outright semis berth but had to wait for its opponent for more than three weeks, and its partisan crowd that trooped the venue.
Game 2 of the series is on Wednesday.
"Siguro nakauna kami, di sanay ang Creamline na natatalo sa first set. Wala silang game na natatalo sa first set laging sila ang nauuna so siguro malaking factor na nakauna kami. Kami rin hirap makakuha ng first set nabaligtad ngayon," said Pocari Sweat-Air Force coach Jasper Jimenez.
Love finished with 20 points off 15 attacks, four kill blocks and an ace while American Maddie Palmer got 12. Pablo scored nine markers and added 12 excellent receptions for the Lady Warriors, who controlled the net play with 13 kill blocks and nailed 10 aces.
Creamline controlled the early part of the first set before unraveling as Pocari Sweat recovered from a 16-11 deficit to tie the frame at 21 before unleashing a closing 4-1 run to steal the set. The second frame was all Lady Warriors.
The Lady Warriors broke a 19-19 deadlock in the third set with a three straight points to douse cold water on Creamline’s rally. The Cool Smashers closed the gap, 23-21, before Love put Pocari Sweat at match point.
Cesca Racraquin committed a service error in the next play before Pablo fell short on her off speed. Love took matters on her own hands to seal the win with a kill block on Creamline’s prized hitter Alyssa Valdez.
Valdez was the only Cool Smasher in double digits with 16 points including a hellish 14-of-48 attack clip while Thai import Kuttika Kaewpin had six markers. New American import Laura Schaudt, who replaced Serbian Nina Asceric, finished with just one point.
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