PVL: Cool Smashers near Finals return

Mark Escarlote on Jul 03, 2019 05:02 PM
PVL: Cool Smashers near Finals return
Defending champion Creamline inched closer to a return trip to the Finals.

Defending champion Creamline moved a step closer to its third straight Finals stint after beating PacificTown Army, 26-24, 25-21, 23-25, 25-20, Wednesday in the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Reinforced Conference best-of-three semifinals opener at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.

In a battle of scoring spurts, the Cool Smashers bested the Lady Troopers to inch closer to the championship round.  

Game 2 is on Saturday at the Ynares Sports Center in Antipolo.

Thai import Kuttika Kaewpin and Alyssa Valdez led the way for Creamline, which created a comfortable cushion midway in the fourth set, 21-16, to finish off PacificTown Army, who drew second wind in the third frame to extend the match. 

Kaewpin finished with 21 points, all from attacks, for the Cool Smashers, who won their 10th straight match after dropping their conference opener and spoiled the 31-point output of Lady Troopers Ukrainian import Lena Lymareva-Flink.

Kaewpin added 16 digs while Venezuelan import Ale Blanco and Valdez got 19 and 12 markers, respectively, for Creamline. Michele Gumabao posted eight points. 

“I think we were leading also during the third set but I guess complacency came in,” said Valdez. “And semifinals we know na Army won’t just give it away, hindi naman nilang madaling ibibigay sa amin. Army did their job also playing well in the first game of the semifinals.”

Down 11-19 in the third frame, the Cool Smashers exploited PacificTown Army’s string of errors to tie the set at 22. Lymareva-Flink scored on the next play before Creamline’s Venezuelan import Ale Blanco committed a net touch as the Lady Troopers moved at set point.

Nene Bautista was called for a net touch in the next play before Lymareva-Flink denied the Cool Smashers of a comeback with an off the block kill.    

The Cool Smashers took the opening set in a great escape after squandering a 24-22 lead. Lymareva-Flink and Ging Balse-Pabayo connived to force a deuce.  

Kaewpin scored a thunderous hit to stop the Lady Troopers’ fightback before Lymareva-Flink surrendered the frame to Creamline after sending her attack long.

The Cool Smashers blasted six straight points to turn a 12-14 deficit to an 18-14 advantage. PacificTown Army answered with a 5-0 barrage capped by a Royse Tubino kill to take a 19-18 lead.

Kaewpin then scored two of the Cool Smashers 5-0 counter for a 23-19 advantage. Lymareva-Flink stopped the bleeding before Michele Gumabao put Creamline at set point.

Tubino saved a set point before Kaewpin sealed it with an off the block hammer.

Lymareva-Flink had 25 attacks, four aces and two kill blocks for the Lady Troopers while Tubino and American Jenelle Jordan got 14 and 10 points, respectively.



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