DO YOU REMEMBER… Jia Morado’s PVL debut?
Mark Escarlote on Jun 03, 2020 03:19 PM
(Photo: Josh Albelda)
Creamline is a powerhouse team in the Premier Volleyball League.
Boasting of a deep roster of talents led by strong hitters in Alyssa Valdez, Jema Galanza and Michele Gumabao, the Cool Smashers have in their collection a total of three titles in three years including back-to-back Open Conference crowns.
And making this star-studded team work and the Creamline players function at their best is setter Jia Morado.
Morado joined the pink-clad squad in the PVL’s Open Conference back in 2017 after a short hiatus following Ateneo de Manila University’s runner-up finish in UAAP Season 79.
In Creamline, which finished third in the Reinforced Conference during the league's inaugural season, Morado reunited with Valdez after last seeing action together in the UAAP in 2016.
The playmaker’s first official game as a Cool Smasher was on July 1, 2017 when Creamline opened its tournament campaign against the Jema Galanza-led Adamson University-Akari at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Morado got the starting role as the Cool Smashers’ main setter the previous conference Alex Cabanos took a backseat.
In front of a very excited 1,205-strong crowd, Morado, who a couple months before announced her decision to forego her final year with the Lady Eagles after losing to archrival De La Salle University in the UAAP Finals, once again wove her magic.
Despite still adjusting with her new teammates, Morado sure brought out the best in her spikers.
Rosemarie Vargas hammered 16 attacks in her 18-point explosion, Valdez also had 16 kills for 18 markers while Pau Soriano got 11 points as Morado pulled the strings of the Creamline’s offense for an opening-day, 25-17, 18-25, 25-15, 25-22, win.
Morado registered impressive numbers in her first action in the PVL.
She dished out 36 excellent sets that helped the Cool Smashers nail the bulk of their 49 attack points.
Morado also posted six points coming off three spikes, a kill block and two aces. On the defensive end, Morado was as sharp as she put up seven digs.
“It feels great to play. It’s a great experience playing with new players naman this time,” said Morado in her first PVL post-game interview.
In that first match, Morado also faced off with a young Adamson playmaker in Louie Romero.
The then Kings’ Montessori setter held her own against Morado with 34 excellent sets.
The Cool Smashers would eventually win their next six games in the single round eliminations.
However, with Valdez joining the national team in its training for the Kuala Lumpur Southeast Asian Games, Creamline came up short in the semifinals against eventual champion BaliPure and settled for a third place finish.
Morado won her first of five Best Setter awards in her debut tournament.
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