Alyssa Valdez came up with another big time performance to help Creamline get past Cignal in another five-set thriller 23-25, 25-16, 25-21, 24-26, 15-10 in the 2023 Premier Volleyball League Invitational Conference semifinals, Saturday at the Philsports Arena in Pasig.
Coming off a five-set scare againsy F2 Logistics last Tuesday, Valdez once again delivered in the clutch to help the Cool Smashers remain unbeaten after six games.
The former league MVP once again eclipsed her previous output, firing 22 points on 18 attacks, two aces, and two blocks for the 3-0 Creamline.
Creamline turned its slim 9-8 advantage to a 12-8 spread in the fifth set after Tots Carlos and Jema Galanza connived in a 3-0 spurt.
Ces Molina stopped the bleeding with an offspeed attack before Valdez and Jovelyn Gonzaga exchanged hits which put the Cool Smashers ahead by three, 13-10, once again.
From there, Carlos and Valdez took over, convering two consecutive kills to finish off the HD Spikers after two hours and 36 minutes of action.
“Syempre yung Creamline naman, proven na yan sa five-setter. Whether kung ano yung resulta, basta sila naglalaro lang naman sila,” said Cool Smashers head coach Sherwin Meneses.
“So, ang magandang resulta nanalo kami, pangalawang beses na. So, naging masaya kami kasi clean na lumalapit yung situation na makapunta ulit kami sa finals,” he added.
Creamline almost closed it out in the fourth with Galanza and Carlos stepping up to transform a 21-24 deficit to a 24-all deadlock. However, Jia De Guzman committed a service error before Molina pierced through the Cool Smashers’ defense to force a fifth set.
Carlos fired a team-high 27 points built on 25 attacks as the Cool Smashers stepped closer to another finals return in the Invitationals while Galanza finished with 21 points, 17 excellent digs, and eight excellent receptions.
De Guzman finished with 33 excellent sets while Ella De Jesus tallied 19 excellent digs for the Rebisco-backed squad.
The defending champions have swept all the local teams in the league and will set their sights against the guest teams, Bac Ninh on Tuesday and Kurashiki on Friday.
On the other hand, Molina’s 28-point explosion went down the drain as the HD Spikers slid to 1-2 in the standings tied with F2 Logistics and PLDT.
Rachel Daquis had 14 points while Riri Meneses and Gonzaga chipped in 12 and 11 points, respectively.
The HD Spikers will face Kurashiki next on Monday.