MANILA, Philippines—Creamline's march to a fourth consecutive win in the 2019 Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Reinforced Conference was not without a couple of road bumps.
The Cool Smashers cruised to a 2-0 lead over BaliPure on Wednesday at FilOil Flying V Centre, but fell behind early in the third set and had to play catch-up all the way.
The Water Defenders did not make it easy for the defending champions to complete the sweep, with Creamline needing a couple of difficult saves from Alyssa Valdez and untimely errors from BaliPure to claim the lead. Eventually, a quick hit by Risa Sato wrapped up Creamline's 25-19, 25-18, 25-23 triumph.
"For me, hindi naman maiiwasan na maging complacent siguro after getting 2 sets," said Valdez, who scored a team-high 16 points, after their win.
"Naging complacent din siguro, inisip namin na tapos na. But yeah, hindi naman natatapos ng 2 sets," she added. "Pero swerte lang din kami in the latter part during the third set."
Valdez acknowledged that they caught a few breaks down the stretch, especially when Thai import Kuttika Kaewpin was matched up in front against the BaliPure locals.
"(Setter) Jia (Morado) took advantage of it also na makapuntos ng makapuntos," Valdez explained.
With the victory, Creamline improved to 4-1, having reeled off 4 straight wins since opening its campaign with a 3-set loss to league-leading PetroGazz. They now sit solo second in the league standings, but Valdez believes they have yet to reach their peak.
"From the 2 previous years playing here, I guess ito ’yung may mga struggles sa una pa lang. And maganda namang mga struggles, magandang mga problem, which is mga pagpapalit, mga transitions, adjustments sa coaching staff and everything," said Valdez, referring to the coaching switch made by the team in the first round.
"But I guess that means marami pa kaming kailangan i-improve as a team talaga. Lalo na't nakita namin na pataas din ng pataas yung laro ng mga kalaban namin. So overall, I guess hindi pa kami fully 100% as a team talaga."
The good news for Valdez and Creamline is that they still have an entire second round to work their way into peak form, and regain the old chemistry that they had with returning coach Tai Bundit.
"I'm looking forward for the second round and more time from coach Tai to jell and have that chemistry back again," said Valdez.
They open their second-round campaign on Saturday against BanKo-Perlas in a road game in Iloilo City.
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