Creamline may have squandered the opening set of Game One of the 2019 PVL Reinforced Conference best-of-three championship series, but they made sure that they will be the ones coming home victorious.
The Cool Smashers displayed grit and championship mettle, dispatching the Petro Gazz Angels, 24-26, 25-16, 25-16, 25-22, Wednesday evening at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
“Breaks of the game talaga and PetroGazz is a very experienced team. Ako masaya ako kasi kahit ganoon ang nangyari we were eyeing for our goal sa team. Hangga’t di pa tapos ang game, we kept on pushing each other and ayun maganda naman ang result,” said Creamline team captain Alyssa Valdez, who had a triple-double performance of 16 points, 15 excellent digs, and 11 excellent receptions.
The Cool Smashers controlled the tempo early as they led 21-15.
The Angels, however, pulled out a bevy of differential hits from the quartet of Wilma Salas, Janisa Johnson, Jeanette Panaga and Paneng Mercado and snatched momentum to put Petro Gazz at set point, 24-23.
Though Kuttika Kaewpin knotted it all up in the ensuing play, Janisa Johnson delivered consecutive hits for an early advantage.
Jolted to their senses, the Cool Smashers kicked into championship gear, clamping down on defense and heating up on offense. They turned the tides with an 18-8 run in the second set then belted a 20-10 cushion in the third set.
Playing with an overwhelming sense of urgency, Petro Gazz took the driver’s seat early in the fourth set and raced to the first technical timeout, 8-3.
However, the Cool Smashers proved that no lead is safe as they knotted the count at 19-all.
It was a battle of attrition from that point onward.
Both teams refused to rest on their laurels, exchanging crowd-igniting plays.
However, the scale shifted towards Creamline’s favor after Blanco lifted the Cool Smashers at match point. In the ensuing play, Cherry Nunag tried to dink a rejected hit from Jonah Sabete with hopes of inciting a resurgence for Petro Gazz, but an overreach infraction sealed the fate of the Angels.
Thai import Kaewpin led all scorers with 21 points built on 18 attacks and three aces and 16 excellent digs. Fellow reinforcement Blanco supplied 18 markers off 15 attacks and three blocks.
Jia Morado won the battle between Djanel Cheng. The former tossed 21 excellent sets to go along three points while the latter put up 13 excellent sets and a point.
American reinforcement Johnson had a triple-double outing of her own, notching 20 points spiked by two blocks, 18 excellent receptions, and 14 excellents digs in a losing cause.
Salas contributed 18 points, two of which coming from the service area, while Panaga provided four aces for 10 points. Cienne Cruz protected the floor with 16 excellent receptions and 16 excellent digs.
Game Two will be held right after the awarding for individual honors on Saturday, July 10 at the same venue.
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