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Tiebreaker Times


Creamline halts Petro Gazz’s unbeaten run, avenges first round loss

Creamline waited four weeks to get their hands on their opening-day tormentors. And they made sure to come out on top this time around.

The Cool Smashers have now tied Petro Gazz in the standings with an identical 7-1 card.

“It feels great kasi sobrang… We did everything in training para paghandaan sila. Big win for us, big confidence booster for us. Pero ‘di pa tapos ang second round,” Creamline setter Jia Morado said.

Drawing strength from Morado’s playmaking ability, the Cool Smashers got their groove going early, establishing a 19-8 cushion in the opening salvo. Though Petro Gazz rallied late in the set, Creamline’s lead proved too much.

The Angels built momentum in the latter part of the first set, giving them much-needed fuel in the ensuing frame. They powered past the Cool Smashers in the second set and knotted the set count at 1-apiece. Creamline started to pull away in the third chapter, however, erecting a 23-19 gap. Alyssa Valdez then hammered a sharp cross-court kill, putting the Cool Smashers at set point and setting up Morado’s set-clinching ace.

The tempo swung wildly in the fourth stanza. With both teams refusing to rest on their laurels, the game came to a 20-all stalemate. Janisa Johnson tried to give Petro Gazz leverage to force a decider in the service area, uncorking a serve that bounced off a Cool Smasher. The ball was about to go out of bounds, but Cienne Cruz was in the wrong place at the unluckiest of times, as the ball grazed her before it hit the floor.

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Wilma Salas took the momentum back for Petro Gazz with a kill. Jeanette Panaga’s aces then flanked Valdez’ mishit to put the Angels at match point, 24-21.

Petro Gazz were about to forge a fifth set, as Panaga waxed hot in the service area. Unfortunately, she then overcooked a serve, allowing Creamline to take advantage. Down 22-24, Aleoscar Blanco denied Kai Baloaloa to knock within one before Valdez fired the equalizer. Johnson tried to shatter the deadlock, but her hit sailed wide, setting the stage for Valdez to ice the game for good.

“When Coach Tai made timeout, he was asking for one thing and that made us very calm and relaxed on the court. If we win that set, we’ll get the game, and if we lose, it goes to a fifth set, so it was a win-win situation for the team. And we just gave our 101-percent and overcome the challenges of that fourth set,” Creamline skipper Valdez said.

Thai reinforcement Kuttika Kaewpin spearheaded the Cool Smashers’ offense with 18 points built on 16 spikes and two blocks, to go with 17 excellent digs. Valdez hammered 16 markers, while Blanco managed 12.

Morado delivered 23 excellent sets on top eight points for Creamline.

The Angels, meanwhile, leaned on their reinforcements. Salas had 23 points while Janisa Johnson lagged a point behind with 22.

With their momentum on a high, Creamline look to sustain power when they take on PacificTown-Army on Wednesday, June 26, at the FilOil Arena. Meanwhile, Petro Gazz will try get back to winning ways, as they also face PacificTown-Army tomorrow, June 23, at the Alonte Sports Arena.

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