An all-Filipino Creamline team bucked Alyssa Valdez’s injury to salvage a bronze finish after taking a four-set win over Chery Tiggo, 25-15, 25-19, 23-25, 25-21 in Game Two of the 2022 Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference, Tuesday at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City.
This is the Cool Smashers’ third bronze medal in the PVL after placing third two consecutive times in the 2017 season and their 10th straight podium finish.
Creamline was gunning for the first-ever PVL grand slam but collapsed during the semifinals which also broke its seven-straight finals appearances.
“Hindi namin nakuha yung grand slam pero marami pa namang opportunities na maka-grand slam,” said Cool Smashers head coach Sherwin Meneses.
“Di naman mawawala sa amin yun basta one point at a time, one game at a time, ang masaya lang sa team kasi wala pa namang magre-retire sa team namin e so we have chances pa,” he added.
Playing without Valdez, who hurt her right knee early in the third set, and Turkish import Yeliz Basa, Tots Carlos stepped up anew and delivered a team-high 19 points on 17 attacks and two aces on top of 11 excellent digs.
Basa missed the second consecutive game for Creamline due to a nagging injury.
Jema Galanza added 16 points and 12 digs. Middle blockers Jeanette Panaga registered four blocks for 14 points while Ced Domingo added 12 markers for the Rebisco-backed squad.
Jia De Guzman dished out a game-high 26 excellent sets to go along with four markers.
Valdez, on the other hand, ended up with 10 points which includes four service aces. She injured her right knee after diving to save a ball during the third set which the Crossovers won.
The reigning Reinforced Conference MVP still watched from the bench before rushing to the Makati Medical Center to undergo an MRI right after the game according to PVL tournament director Tony Boy Liao.
With the Crossovers threatening to send the game to a fifth set, Domingo, Galanza, and Panaga went on a four-to-nothing blast to turn a 20-19 lead to a 24-19 spread.
May Luna and Mylene Paat converted back-to-back hits to keep Chery Tiggo alive before Galanza nailed the bronze-clinching hit.
“Syempre happy kami at natapos yung campaign namin this year na naka-bronze kami saka nanalo kami so masaya kami doon,” Meneses said.
Meanwhile, the Crossovers finished at fourth place – which is still a huge leap from their eighth and seventh place finishes in the Open Conference and the Invitational Conference, respectively.
Paat led Chery Tiggo with 19 points on 15 attacks and four blocks while Montenegrin import Jelena Cvijovic added 13 points.
EJ Laure had an all-around performance, finishing with 11 points, 13 excellent receptions, and 10 excellent digs while Cza Carandang had 10 markers.