Leaning on their deep arsenal, the Creamline Cool Smashers bucked the absence of Alyssa Valdez and Jia Morado while dispatching the Banko Perlas Spikers, 25-22, 27-25, 25-14, Sunday afternoon at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
“Proud ako sa mga teammates ko, lalo na sa mga nag-step up talaga. Wala akong masabi kasi actually nandoon ‘yung kaba namin sa BanKo. Alam namin kung paano maglaro ‘yung BanKo, Most of their players veterans habang kami, may mga umalis,” Cool Smashers open spiker Jema Galanza said.
The reigning PVL Open Conference champions remain atop the standings with an immaculate 15-0 slate, stepping closer to a rousing sweep of the elimination round.
Down by 9-16 midway through the second set, the Cool Smashers whittled away at the deficit and knotted things up at 21. In a searing back-and-forth swing, Galanza nailed an off-the-block hit that buoyed Creamline to set point, 24-23. Sue Roces then responded with one of her own to forge a deuce.
Pau Soriano and Kathy Bersola exchanged crucial blows for another stalemate at 25, before Michele Gumabao carried the scoring cudgels. The former La Salle standout delivered consecutive hits to snatch a two-set edge.
“More on errors kami nung second set, but si coah Tai, hindi kami pine-pressure. Basta ang sabi niya lang, maging happy kami at mag-relax kami kasi nung second set, ang tigas namin gumalaw. Wala kaming communication, so hinanap lang namin ‘yung rhythm namin hanggang sa magtuluy-tuloy,” Galanza said.
From there, the Cool Smashers sustained momentum. They mounted a sizable cushion in the decisive third frame, then shifted to cruise control en route to a stunning straight-set victory.
Galanza scintillated anew, pouring in a game-high 14 points built on 13 attacks. She also dispersed 14 excellent digs and 16 excellent receptions to churn out another triple-double performance.
Gumabao and Rosemarie Vargas shouldered the scoring load with 12 markers apiece. The latter also had 10 excellent receptions to her name, flaunting her all-around wares. Soriano and Celine Domingo anchored above the net with three and two blocks to finish with 11 and six points, respectively.
Kyle Negrito dished out 17 excellent sets on top of six markers as she generated the offense for Creamline. Defensive specialist Kyla Atienza collected 28 excellent digs.
The Cool Smashers are missing the brilliance of Morado and Valdez, both of whom are in Japan for a training camp with the Philippine Women’s National Volleyball Team.
On the other hand, the Perlas Spikers saw their four-game winning streak come to a halt in their final game of the preliminaries. They have fallen to solo fourth with a 10-6 card.
BanKo skipper Nicole Tiamzon spearheaded her team with 12 points and 10 excellent digs for a double-double outing that went down the drain. Roces added 10 markers anchored on nine spikes and her team’s lone ace.
Jem Ferrer managed 14 excellent sets, while libero Nina Balang had 22 excellent dig and 10 excellent receptions.
The Cool Smashers seek to seal their dominant run through the elimination round on a high note when they square off against Motolite on Wednesday, October 23 at the same venue.
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