BACARRA, ILOCOS NORTE — As a precaution, Jema Galanza should have sat out Creamline’s match against Black Mamba-Army to rest the right knee injury she sustained against Petro Gazz last Tuesday.
But as the good soldier she is, Galanza made sure to keep herself ready if ever the Cool Smashers needed her to come in.
And they did need her.
“I think hindi talaga ako palalaruin, and ayun nga, sabi ready lang ako. Kung ano ‘mang sabihin ng coaches, gagawin ko lang naman. So I think lalaro naman talaga ako if ever kailangan,” bared the reigning Open Conference Most Valuable Player.
Still, there was a little bit of pain.
“Every time na tatalon, sumasakit siya.
“So natatakot lang din naman ‘yung mga coaches na i-pwersa siya, so baka kung ano pa mangyari. But hindi naman siya malala,” the 24-year-old native of San Pedro, Laguna assired. “So kailangan lang siguro ng rest kasi ilang months na rin kami talagang nagte-training. Kailangan lang talagang ma-balance ‘yung rest saka ‘yung training.”
During the first set, Creamline looked lost inside the court as the Lady Troopers pummeled hit after hit. This forced assistant coach Sherwin Meneses to field his injured star.
Creamline eventually lost the first set, 20-25, but managed to make do without Galanza in the second set. It evened things out through a 25-15 performance.
The former Adamson star played sparingly in the 25-27 third-set loss, before eventually starting in the fourth set.
Galanza then provided the spark in the crucial fourth set which led to a 25-19 win. That then sent the game to winner-take-all fifth set.
She finished with seven points — with three coming from the service line in the crucial fourth set surge.
Creamline ran away with a five-set victory, 20-25, 25-15, 25-27, 25-19, 15-13.
“Hindi pa talaga ako kasi totally 100 percent yung tuhod ko but focus lang ako.
“Sabi nila coach (Sherwin Meneses) na parang ‘pag kailangan, ready lagi mag-contribute. Ayun lang naman talaga ‘yung kailangan kong gawin. And I think lahat naman ginawa ‘yung best nila so talagang na-short lang nung umpisa,” shared Galanza.
Galanza also feels elated as the team now has a surplus of attackers who can contribute at any time.
As a testament to this, Creamline newcomer Tots Carlos fired 26 points in the victory. Meanwhile, Alyssa Valdez, who was struggling early in the match, wounded up with 20 points along with 17 excellent digs.
“Sobrang mapapanatag ka talaga na alam mong kaya nilang mag-contribute, na kaya nilang pumuntos. ‘Yun din naman ‘yung kahit sinong i-pasok naman, talagang alam naming kaya naming manalo.”