Creamline is in the midst of a dominant run through the 2019 PVL Open Conference, thwarting every other team that has dared to stand in its way.
And the driving force of the Cool Smashers’ unbeaten surge has been Jema Galanza.
Galanza has shouldered the role of the team’s main hitter for majority of the preliminaries. She has stepped up in lieu of Alyssa Valdez, who has seen limited action for Creamline due to injury concerns and national team duties.
Given the increase in responsibility, the 22-year-old outside hitter has become one of the frontrunners for the Most Valuable Player award. But for her part, it is the least of her priorities, especially since her sights are set on helping Creamline defend its Open Conference throne.
“‘Di ko naman siya iniisip eh kasi ang goal talaga namin is ‘yung championship eh,” she bared. “Well, thankful ako kung makuha ko man ‘yun, sobrang blessed ko ngayon.
“But ang focus talaga ay championship ngayon.”
Based on an official tally released on Saturday, Galanza is among the top ten league leaders in five departments.
She’s seventh in scoring with 189 total points, spiked by a 35.89 success rate — fourth among spikers. She’s also sixth in the service area, netting 0.36 aces per set; and fourth and ninth in receiving (44.03 efficiency rate) and digging (2.93 digs per frame), respectively.
Should Galanza receive the highest individual recognition for the conference, it would be a fitting culmination of her sacrifices and hard work for Creamline.
“Para kay ate Ly [Alyssa] at ate Jia talaga kasi medyo nakikita ko ‘yung stress nila na hindi nakakasama sa amin kasi nga may national team.
“Ayun, gusto kong mag-enjoy sila at mag-focus sila sa national team, kaya ginagawa ko ‘yung best ko,” the reigning 2nd Best Outside Spiker admitted.
She then vowed to be one of the mature voices in Creamline. “And talagang mas magiging leader ako kahit hindi ako ‘yung punakamatanda, at sasabihan ko sila kung ano maitutulong ko sa kanila, at tutulungan ko sila hangga’t makakaya ko. At hindi ako mapapagod, every game talaga, gagawin ko best ko.”
Galanza and the Cool Smashers are now one win away from sweeping the preliminaries, with only Motolite standing in their way. Aiming for a blistering momentum to carry over into the semifinals, the proud daughter of San Pedro, Laguna is sparing no effort on Wednesday.
“Siyempre last na, bakit magpapatalo pa, ‘di ba? Kukunin na namin ‘to para din ma-boost kami for semifinals,” she asserted. “Ayaw namin na mas ma-stress kami na natalo kami, so baka mawala kami sa kundisyon namin at sa connection namin.
“So, kukunin namin ‘tong last elimination game na ‘to.”