PVL: Cool Smashers, Angels rekindle rivalry in title clash
Mark Escarlote on Nov 06, 2019 07:11 AM
Unbeaten Creamline begins its title defense against familiar foe PetroGazz.
It’s a battle between the top attacking team against the best defensive squad when unbeaten defending champion Creamline and PetroGazz reignite their championship rivalry Wednesday in the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Open Conference Finals at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
The two squads meet in the biggest stage for the second straight tournament after the Angels dethroned the Cool Smashers in the Reinforced Conference a few months back.
Game time is at 6:00 p.m. and will air live on LIGA SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD SkyCable Channel 183, iWant and via livestream.
Creamline is on an 18-game roll including its two-game sweep of Motolite in the semifinals a week ago. The Cool Smashers are lording it over on attacks with 34.36% success rate behind Alyssa Valdez, Michele Gumabao and Jema Galanza while landing a league-best 2.19 aces per set. Creamline is also no. 1 in setting with its pair of reliable playmakers in Jia Morado and Kyle Negrito as the team averaged 6.81 excellent sets per frame.
But learning their lesson from last time, the Cool Smashers despite dominating PetroGazz in the elims are wary of how dangerous the Angels are in the playoffs.
“I think one of the strengths of PetroGazz going from the Reinforced Conference to the All-Filipino is we can see their confidence. We can see 'yung nag-uumapaw, lumalabas, overflowing 'yung confidence,” said Valdez of PetroGazz, which drubbed BanKo in two straight sets games in the semis.
“And it shows naman sa mga games nila, lalo na this semifinals na very dominant sila,” added Valdez. “So one thing na pinakamahirap naman talagang kalaban sa lahat ng mga teams, more than the skills is kung sino talaga may lakas ng loob, may tiwala sa teammates and 'yung confident sila na mananalo talaga.”
While Creamline leads the stats on offense, PetroGazz is making a living with its vaunted net defense and excellent reception.
Parading solid middles in Cherry Nunag and Jeanette Panaga, the Angels are averaging 2.21 kill blocks per set. PetroGazz is also getting the most out of its prized libero Cienne Cruz and versatile wingers in Jovie Prado and Jonah Sabete with its league-high 44.77% reception efficiency rate.
“They are the number one team in attack, and number one team in service. Once ma-control namin 'yung serve nila through our passes, and attacks nila through our blockings, siguro mas magiging maayos 'yung laro namin,” said Angels coach Arnold Laniog.
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