MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATE) Creamline became the second team to secure a spot in the semifinals of the 2019 Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Reinforced Conference.
This, after the Cool Smashers defeated Motolite, 25-15, 25-20, 25-23, at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan on Wednesday afternoon.
Creamline stretched its winning streak to six games, improving to 6-1 in the tournament. Motolite, for its part, dropped to 2-5.
The loss also spoiled the tournament debut of top local spiker Myla Pablo, who finally played after missing the first round due to a back injury.
"We're just really happy that we're jelling, and our chemistry as a team is back," said Alyssa Valdez. "I guess the key talaga to winning these games was our imports. I think nakuha na nila 'yung system ni Coach Tai (Bundit)."
After cruising to victory in the opening set, Creamline was tested in the second frame as they trailed 18-16 late off a hit by Motolite's Krystel Esdelle.
But the Cool Smashers ended the set on a 9-2 run, with Thai import Kuttika Kaewpin scoring three of the last four points including a sharp hit to end the set.
Looking to force an extension, Motolite surged to an 8-3 lead in the third frame, only for the Cool Smashers to claw their way back behind the quick kills of Aleoscar Blanco and timely contributions from Jema Galanza.
The Cool Smashers reached match point, 24-21, off a Valdez hit, but Esdelle came through with back-to-back hits to keep Motolite in the hunt.
Kaewpin would not be denied, however, unleashing another crosscourt attack to end the match in an hour and 19 minutes.
"Second round na, so it's about time na nag-jell na kami," said setter Jia Morado, who earned Player of the Game honors after tallying 26 excellent sets.
Blanco and Kaewpin each scored 13 points, while Valdez had 10 markers. The Cool Smashers put up 43 kills against only 33 for Motolite, and also got 21 free points off their opponents' errors.
Channon Thompson led Motolite with 15 points, while Esdelle finished with 14. Pablo, in her first game back from injury, scored 2 points and sat out the third set.
The Cool Smashers join unbeaten PetroGazz (7-0) in the Final 4.
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