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Valdez clutch as Creamline averts PVL upset against Black Mamba-Army

BACARRA, ILOCOS NORTE — Creamline survived a five-set thriller against a gutsy Black Mamba-Army, 20-25, 25-15, 25-27, 25-19, 15-13, in the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference on Thursday, here at the PCV Socio-Civic and Cultural Center. 

With the Cool Smashers scoring the first two points of the fifth set, the Lady Troopers made sure to answer with a 9-1 outburst to take a commanding 9-3 advantage.

Michelle Gumabao stopped the bleeding for Creamline with a cross-court kill and a hit from Jeanette Panaga, followed by two errors from Army, sliced the lead to just two points.

Ging Balse-Pabayo restored order for the Lady Troopers but Gumabao and Tots Carlos willed the Cool Smashers to just one, 9-10.

A Balse-Pabayo block and an attack error on Creamline’s side stretched the lead to three, 12-9, before Carlos, Panaga, and Alyssa Valdez, respectively, tied the scores at 12.

Carlos put the Cool Smashers ahead with a soft touch before Jean Delos Reyes locked the scores once more.

Valdez pulled Creamline at match-point before Army botched an attempt to seal the 15-13 win for the Cool Smashers.

“Siyempre lahat naman yan nag prepare buti na lang yung konting adjustment naming nagbunga naman so nakuha naming panalo,” said Creamline assistant coach Sherwin Meneses.

Carlos fired a game-high 26 points built on 24 attacks and two aces while Valdez still found a way to collect 20 markers along with 17 excellent digs for the 3-0 Creamline.

Kyla Atienza ended up with 23 excellent digs and 17 excellent receptions while Jia Morado churned the offense with 37 sets along with three points.

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Army tripped a sleeping Creamline in the opener, zooming to a 1-0 advantage after a surprise 25-20 win in the first set.

The Rebisco-backed squad then surged to a 25-15 win in the second set before the Lady Troopers survived a deuce in the third to take a 2-1 lead.

Jema Galanza, who is still not at a hundred percent due to a right knee injury, provided the spark in the fourth set as Valdez and Carlos scored the final hits to send the game to a 2-2 deadlock through a 25-19 performance.

Jovelyn Gonzaga finished with 18 points and 20 excellent digs while Royse Tubino had 14 markers, 17 excellent digs, and 18 excellent receptions for Army, who dropped to a 1-2 card.

Creamline will take on a struggling PLDT squad on Sunday at 1:00 PM while Black Mamba-Army will have a two-day break before facing Sta. Lucia on Monday at 6:00 PM.

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