MANILA – With their backs against the wall, the Creamline Cool Smashers leaned not just on their skills but on their heart as champions that has been tested through the years in the biggest stages of the PVL.
Down 0-1 in the final series of the PVL All-Filipino Conference, the Cool Smashers started on the wrong foot, surrendering the first set 18-25 against the Petro Gazz Angels.
But they quickly overturned the competition and shifted the momentum to their side, as they took the second and third set convincingly. While they dropped the ensuing frame, Creamline showed might in the deciding set with a whopping 15-6 closeout.
The Cool Smashers were successful in forcing a winner-take-all Game 3 against the Angels on Thursday, March 30, at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“Mindset, 'di na skills 'yung labanan. So nag-response naman 'yung team, and maganda 'yung pinakita sa five sets. 'Yung puso, champion team 'yan, so talagang pinakita nila na talagang hindi sila bibigay. Hindi sila bibitaw,” head coach Sherwin Meneses said after their Game 2 win.
According to Meneses, the Finals series showed the character of the team, especially their leaders, who rose to the occasion.
In fact, Jia de Guzman was stellar once again in orchestrating the team’s offense with 30 excellent sets while Tots Carlos and Michele Gumabao connived for 41 big points.
“Sobrang saya namin. Kasi, nakita namin 'yung mga leader nagde-deliver. So 'yun ang pinaka-importante naman sa ganitong laban eh -- 'yung mga leader. Kasi 'yung skills naman, andiyan palagi. Kaya nga nasa Finals ang both teams,” he continued.
“Kung sino 'yung talagang maglalaro ng maganda, magsu-support sa isa't isa... Pangalawa na lang siguro 'yung skills. Pero sa team namin, nakita namin 'yung character ng bawat player, na talagang walang magpapatalo. Walang bibigay. 'Yun naman ang pinaka-importante eh -- 'yung 100% nila.”
Meneses said that the final match of the conference will all boil down to the players’ hearts and their composure to handle the pressure.
“Ito, 'yung puso na binigay ng mga player, dapat doblehin pa nila sa Game 3. And composure, 'yun ang pinaka-importante. Pressure game, basta may composure ka, makakagalaw ka ng maganda,” he said.
A win for the Cool Smashers will be their fourth All-Filipino title in the PVL. The Angels, meanwhile, are gunning for their second straight title after winning the reinforced conference.