Creamline flashed its deep arsenal once again, moving on the verge of the 2019 PVL Open Conference championship, Wednesday night.
The Cool Smashers overcame a tough stand from the Petro Gazz Angels, fashioning out a straight-set decision, 25-14, 25-22, 27-25, in Game One of the title bouts at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan City.
By stretching their unbeaten streak to 19 matches, the reigning title holders of the season-ending conference came a win closer to their third diadem. They are also on the verge of completing a monumental tournament sweep.
Creamline skipper Alyssa Valdez flaunted her lethal form anew, pouring in a game-high 19 points built on 17 attacks. But none were more crucial than the pair of service aces she uncorked late in the third set, pulling the Cool Smashers out of danger.
Petro Gazz were just three points away from forcing a fourth frame while cradling a 22-20 edge. Valdez pummeled a hit, before trooping to the service line to drop consecutive bombs to buoy Creamline, 23-22.
However, the Angels leaned on Kai Baloaloa and Jonah Sabete to snatch back the lead, 24-23. Their slim advantage, though, proved to be short-lived as Jeanette Panaga botched a service attempt.
Figuring in a two-to-win situation, Fille Cainglet-Cayetano and Baloaloa traded crucial hits for another deadlock at 25. But the latter muffed another service attempt in service area for Petro Gazz.
In the ensuing sequence, Jema Galanza — who scintillated once more with a double-double of 15 points and 10 excellent digs — punctuated a long rally with the lethal blow.
Michele Gumabao continued to be a consistent force for Creamline, supplementing 10 markers. Ced Domingo and Risa Sato punched in five points apiece.
Creamline playmaker Jia Morado distributed the wealth to the tune of 21 excellent sets. Meanwhile, defensive specialist Kyla Atienza patrolled the floor with 16 excellent digs and 15 excellent receptions.
“This is the Finals. We expect nothing but all-out na game from both teams, and PetroGazz really showed it from the get-go,” said Valdez. “I guess ‘yun din ang ini-expect namin sa Game Two.
“Everyone really contributed, and hopefully maging consistent lang,” added Valdez.
The Angels outperformed the Cool Smashers in the blocking and service departments, surrendering a 1-3 and 3-5 output, respectively. But Creamline was able to make up for it in attacks, 51-32.
Sabete topped Petro Gazz with 12 points on top of eight excellent receptions in a losing cause. Jovie Prado lagged a point behind, ending up with 11 markers. Panaga and Baloaloa managed seven and four, respectively.
Battle-tested setter Chie Saet floundered as she produced eight excellent sets. Meanwhile, libero Cienne Cruz collected 18 excellent digs and 18 excellent receptions that all went down the drain.
The decisive Game Two of the Finale is slated on November 9, Saturday at the same venue.