Jia De Guzman and Creamline booked their return trip to the finals after taking down Kinh Bắc-Bắc Ninh in straight sets in the 2023 Premier Volleyball League Invitational Conference on Tuesday evening.
De Guzman said that she was very happy to finally have team captain Alyssa Valdez back on the court to help the Rebisco-backed squad defend their Invitationals crown, which they won last year against KingWhale of Taiwan.
Valdez missed Creamline’s championship run in the 2023 PVL All-Filipino Conference earlier this year after suffering a right knee injury during the team’s bronze match in the Reinforced Conference last December.
“I’m very happy. Kasi last conference, she was still there, she was still on the sidelines guiding us, helping us out, cheering us on, pero it’s different pa rin having her inside and contributing points especially kapag dikitan and crucial yung situation,” said the decorated playmaker out of Ateneo.
“Hindi lang si Ate Ly [Valdez] yung maaasahan ko, nadagdagan yung maaasahan ko sa loob ng court kasi lahat ng spikers ko kaya kong asahan,” she added.
Meanwhile, Valdez fired 11 points on 11 attacks to go along with 11 excellent receptions in the win that extended the Cool Smashers’ winning streak to seven games in the Invitationals and put them up 4-0 in the semis standings.
For her part, the former league MVP said that her return to the grandest stage of the country’s women’s professional volleyball league is special since she spent the last seven months on the sidelines.
Valdez also said that she’s willing to do whatever she can to contribute on the court and help the likes of Tots Carlos, Jema Galanza, and Ced Domingo carry the scoring load.
“Nakakamiss talaga. It’s so much different to play and be here na nasa loob ka ng court playing with your teammates than hindi ka nakakasuit up or jersey ‘man lang,” said Valdez.
“Kung anong matutulong, kung anong macontribute, talagang ibibigay namin yung all namin this coming finals. Lalo na ako. Most especially, this is my… again, after that injury din. I got injured battle for third pa ata so it’s very, very special to me.”