ILOILO CITY — Creamline head coach Sherwin Meneses is already preparing the rest of the Cool Smashers for the possibility of playing without team captain Alyssa Valdez in the semifinals.
Just moments after the Cool Smashers’ four-set, 25-17, 25-22, 27-29, 25-8 win over Akari at the University of San Carlos Gymnasium here, Meneses revealed that Valdez is still not ready to make her All-Filipino Conference debut as of the moment.
“Actually, nag-prepare naman kami na wala si Ly [Valdez] nung start ng season e,” Meneses told members of the press.
“Kasi as of now hindi pa siya talagang pwedeng maglaro. Number one pa priority pa rin talaga yung health niya.”
Valdez is still recovering from a right knee injury she sustained back in Creamline’s bronze medal match against Chery Tiggo in the Reinforced Conference last December.
The Cool Smashers management announced two weeks ago that the three-time PVL Most Valuable Player underwent a procedure that would help her recovery.
Creamline formally bagged the number one seed after the win against Akari. They ended their run in the eliminations with a 7-1 win-loss standing.
Michele Gumabao, Jema Galanza, and Tots Carlos continued to step up for their skipper and all scored in double digits against the Chargers.
Gumabao fired a game-high 19 points on 17 attacks while Galanza added 17 points built on 14 attacks two blocks, and an ace. On the other hand, Carlos had an all-around outing and finished with 16 points, 16 excellent receptions, and 12 excellent digs.
Meneses said that the team still has a lot of work to do heading into the semifinals. Still, he’s glad that no one else got hurt.
“Marami pa kaming kailangan i-improve pagdating ng semifinals.
“Consistency, napaka-importante ng every point kaya kailangan naming mag-focus sa kada point kasi kita niyo naman nung third set medyo hindi maganda yung nilaro namin pero happy ako kasi wala namang na-injury, healthy kaming maglalaro sa semis, so mag-pe-prepare kami,” said the decorated head coach.