MANILA, Philippines -- Creamline was already assured of a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals heading into their final group stage game of the 2022 Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Open Conference.
Yet the Cool Smashers still went all out against rival PetroGazz on Wednesday night, eventually coming away with a hard-earned 25-23, 23-25, 25-19, 23-25, 15-10 triumph at the Paco Arena.
The five-set win gave Creamline a 3-0 sweep of Pool B, but for the Cool Smashers, what's crucial is that they gained some much needed momentum heading into the quarterfinals of the tournament.
"Siyempre, every game is important," said Tots Carlos, who was unstoppable all throughout and finished with a team-high 28 points.
"Lalong-lalo na, we want to get the championship, so every game talaga, gusto naming ipanalo," she added. "Malaking morale-booster din 'to going to the quarters eh. So 'yun siguro 'yung, I think, nakakapag-motivate sa team."
Creamline coach Sherwin Meneses also pointed out that the game allowed them to further study their mistakes. The Cool Smashers got plenty of offense, tallying 76 kills, but they failed to register a single block point in the five-set marathon.
They also gave away 29 points off their errors and couldn't build off their momentum after twice taking one-set advantages.
"Medyo may mga lapses lang sa bandang gitna, so iwo-work namin," said Meneses. "Napaganda naman at Sunday pa 'yung quarterfinals, so mai-improve pa namin 'yung mga fault namin today. Pero siyempre, maging masaya tayo kasi nanalo tayo."
Creamline won their previous two matches via sweep but Meneses was pleased to see them maintain their composure in a five-set battle.
"'Yung win ngayon, napaka-importante sa amin, kasi papasok ng quarterfinals, so 'yung momentum nasa amin pa," he said. "Kaya sabi ko sa mga players, kahit na twice-to-beat tayo, kailangan natin maglaro ng maganda. Para pag papasok ng quarterfinals, 'yun nga, malalaman namin 'yung mga lapses namin. So pagta-trabahuhan pa."
The Cool Smashers are set to play defending champion Chery TIggo in the quarterfinals, in a rematch of last year's classic finals series that went the distance.
Meneses said the match-up against the Crossovers weren't on their mind while taking on the Gazz Angels.
"Actually, naka-focus kami sa PetroGazz," he insisted. "Basta kami, maglalaro lang kami ng tama, susunod lang 'yung panalo."