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Tiebreaker Times


PVL: Creamline delivers in 5, extends finals to winner-take-all

Creamline, the defending champions of the Premier Volleyball League All Filipino Conference, showcased their championship poise and character in a grueling match against Petro Gazz.

The Cool Smashers overcame all their mental hurdles to force a winner-take-all match against the Petro Gazz Angels for the coveted championship crown, taking an 18-25, 25-16, 25-18, 23-25, 15-6 victory before a raucous crowd at the SM Mall of Asia Arena on Tuesday.

After losing the first set, Creamline bounced back with an impressive 25-16 victory in the second set.

They continued their momentum in the third set. However, Petro Gazz put up a fierce fight in the fourth set and narrowly won 25-23, setting up a dramatic fifth set.

The deciding set was expected to be a riveting, down-to-the-wire battle of nerves, but Creamline broke the 2-2 count with a bewildering eight-point binge, anchored on Michele Gumabao and Tots Carlos.

The Cool Smashers turned what was expected to be a close match into a runaway finish to the delight of the majority of the 9,917 fans in attendance.

“Hindi na skills ang labanan pero nag-respond naman ang team. Maganda ung pinakita sa fifth set, ung puso, champion team yan kaya hindi sila bibigay,” said Creamline head coach Sherwin Meneses.

Ced Domingo proved clutch, scoring Creamline’s last three points, including a running attack, a key block of Grethcel Soltones, and a two-handed dump after a Petro Gazz mis-receive that ended the mind-draining duel of power and wits.

Creamline’s playmaker, Jia de Guzman, posted 30 excellent hits and emerged as the best player in a match that produced a lot of heroines for the defending champions.

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“We had so many lapses in Game One and there were a lot of things to be fixed. But all our hard work has paid off,” said De Guzman.

Gumabao (21 points and 14 digs), Carlos (20 points and 22 receptions), Jema Galanza (17 points), and Domingo (14 points) were in their old fiery selves, soaring and firing away stinging kills, while the rest of the team backed them up with gritty floor defense and coverage that kept the Smashers in control.

Despite losing the match, Petro Gazz unleashed its own firepower with Remy Palma firing 16 points, Aiza Pontillas adding 15 points, and Jonah Sabete and MJ Phillips each finishing with 10 points.

However, the Angels failed to stop the Cool Smashers’ fifth-set assault and struggled trying to launch their counter-attack.

Creamline stalled Petro Gazz’s crack at a third PVL glory after nailing two Reinforced Conference titles.

The two-hour and 16-minute victory put Creamline back on track for back-to-back championships in the league’s centerpiece tournament, the former Open Conference, while lining up the Cool Smashers for a sixth PVL championship since joining the league in 2017.

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