The top-seeded Creamline Cool Smashers looked far from their usual form in Game One of the Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference semifinals.
After plowing through the league in the elimination round, the Cool Smashers absorbed a straight-set loss to the fourth-seeded and previously-struggling defending champions Pocari Sweat-Air Force Lady Warriors.
Creamline could have made several excuses that led to the loss.
They made a sudden import change, swapping Nina Asceric for their reinforcement from last year Laura Schaudt.
Two of their best players, Alyssa Valdez and Jia Morado, suffered injuries right after the elimination round that sidelined them for several weeks.
The ladies in pink, however, stuck to the tangible reasons for the loss.
Captain and four-time league Most Valuable Player Valdez admitted that they themselves were shocked by their play in the series-opener.
“We were not really expecting na ganoon ‘yung ilalaro namin. But we’re really expecting na Air Force will give a good fight sa amin. They did, so we really have to make those little adjustments going into the next game,” said the 24-year-old spiker.
Though Schaudt scored just one point in her first match with Creamline this year, Valdez refused to dwell on her teammate’s lackluster debut.
“Laura was there naman last year. She knows ‘yung goal ng team namin. More than anything, we’re gonna accept all the changes and adjustments na needed para maka-survive ‘yung team namin,” asserted the former Ateneo Lady Eagle, adding that the whole team needs to show better desire in Game Two on Wednesday.
“Natalo, pero it’s really not a bad loss for the team. We really have to have and look for that motivation going into Game Two. Ang tagal din naming nawala and kailangan din namin ng magfa-fire and magfu-fuel sa amin para makuha ‘yung momentum na kailangan namin,” the four-time PVL champion added.
“Sabi nga nila, mas marami kaming matututunan sa mga talo. Hopefully, ‘yun ‘yung makukuha namin sa talo na ‘to.”
Valdez was also adamant about having recovered from her previously-inflamed achilles tendon.
The Phenom knows how important it is for Creamline to win this series, as she has not made a Finals in the PVL since 2015.
“Kaya ‘to. If you really want to fight for your teammates and the Creamline Cool Smashers, you’re really gonna give your best. Important ‘yung presence ng isa’t isa sa amin in every game.”