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Alyssa Valdez reflects on ‘unfamiliar Finals’ in Creamline victory sans Jia De Guzman


Alyssa Valdez, who has experienced numerous championship games in her storied career, found herself navigating unfamiliar terrain during Game 1 of the Premier Volleyball League Second All-Filipino Conference finale.

For the first time in the last five seasons, the three-time league MVP stepped onto a PVL finals court without her long-time running mate Jia De Guzman.

De Guzman is currently in Japan with the Denso Airybees.

Nevertheless, De Guzman managed to make her presence felt and expressed her support for the Cool Smashers. She sent a recorded call that was displayed on the SM Mall of Asia Arena jumbotron just minutes before the start of Game 1.

Valdez said that it felt different playing in a high-stakes game without De Guzman, who has been her setter ever since their college days.

However, she declared that Kyle Negrito has been doing a great job filling in for the eight-time Best Setter.

2022-PVL-Awarding-Jia-De-Guzman-Alyssa-Valdez Alyssa Valdez reflects on 'unfamiliar Finals' in Creamline victory sans Jia De Guzman News PVL Volleyball  - philippine sports news

“Well, first of all, it’s my first time to play with Creamline na wala si Jia, so medyo iba rin yung dating sa amin, but we’ve been playing with Kyle din naman,” said Valdez after the 25-23, 19-25, 26-24, 25-22 win over Choco Mucho, Thursday night.

“Nakaka-miss din si Jia kasi iba rin yung composure niya in terms of these big games. But we’re really happy for her kasi ang ganda rin naman ng pinapakita niya sa Japan and we’re looking forward na sana mag-reunite kami soon, may it be on or off the court,” she added.

The 30-year-old Creamline star, who scored 11 points in Game 1, also praised the Cool Smashers’ growth in the absence of De Guzman and Ced Domingo, who is currently with Nakhon Ratchasima in Thailand.

#ReadMore  Pocari Sweat-Air Force stuns top-seeded Creamline in series opener

PVL-AFC-Finals-Creamline-vs.-Choco-Mucho-Alyssa-Valdez-9665 Alyssa Valdez reflects on 'unfamiliar Finals' in Creamline victory sans Jia De Guzman News PVL Volleyball  - philippine sports news

“Well, I guess one thing na masasabi ko, grabe yung growth and maturity ng lahat. Andami rin naming pinagdaanan, there was this conference na ako yung wala at nandun naman sina Jia. Ang ganda rin nung naging setup ng mga nangyari sa amin, and now, even if kung sino yung ipasok ni coach, talagang may identity na,” said Valdez.

“Kilala na nila yung sarili nila on how they play and how we play as a team. So I think a very crucial part is we have to stick to the system talaga. At least, very happy, very proud of all of them.”

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