After two straight bronze medal finishes, the Creamline Cool Smashers earned their first chance to vie for PVL gold, sweeping the Pocari Sweat-Air Force Lady Warriors in Game Three of the Reinforced Conference semifinals, 25-15, 25-18, 25-16, at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
The Lady Warriors were dealt a decisive blow minutes before the match with ace hitter Myla Pablo tweaking her back during the official warm-ups.
Creamline overwhelmed their short-handed foes throughout the match. The Cool Smashers ran off to a 16-7 lead in the first set before sprinting to an insurmountable 19-12 edge in the following frame.
Pocari Sweat-Air Force momentarily regained form in the third set, building a 5-2 cushion. Creamline captain Alyssa Valdez, however, dashed their hopes scoring four times in a run that pushed the Cool Smashers ahead 14-12. Pocari Sweat-Air Force then struggled to receive Jema Galanza’s serve, opening the door for Creamline to take the match after racing ahead, 22-14.
“It’s very unfortunate, what happened to Myla,” thought Creamline captain Alyssa Valdez. “We took advantage pero you just don’t want to see that happen to a fellow player.
“There was a lot of pressure on the team talaga to make the Finals. But, it wasn’t pressure that bothered us or affected us negatively. Siguro, ‘yun ‘yung pressure that really kept us pushing forward,” the former Ateneo Lady Eagle added.
The four-time PVL MVP managed 15 points and 14 digs. Thai import Kuttika Kaewpin also had 15 markers to go with eight excellent receptions.
Creamline will take on the winner of the PayMaya-BanKo tiff in the Finals which begins on Sunday at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
American Arielle Love led the Lady Warriors with 11 points. Elaine Kasilag, who took Pablo’s place in the first six, tallied three points.
Pocari Sweat failed to make the PVL finals for the first time in franchise history.
Creamline (3) – Valdez 15, Kaewpin 15, Sato 10, Gumabao 8, Schaudt 5, Morado 2, Galanza 2, Cabanos 1, Mandapat 0, Atienza (L), Gohing (L)
Pocari Sweat-Air Force (0) – Love 11, Palmer 9, Pantino 4, Kasilag 3, Antipuesto 3, Panaga 2, Palomata 1, Yongco 0, Racraquin 0, Semana 0, Tempiatura (L), Balmaceda (L)