PVL: Cool Smashers move a step closer to a breakthrough title

Mark Escarlote, ABS-CBN Sports

Posted at Jul 08 2018 10:09 PM | Updated as of Jul 09 2018 07:36 AM

Alyssa Valdez towed Creamline closer to its breakthrough crown. Richard Esguerra, ABS-CBN Sports.

MANILA - Creamline bounced back from a second set meltdown before dismantling PayMaya, 25-21, 22-25, 25-20, 25-19, Sunday to draw first blood in the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Reinforced Conference best-of-three Finals at the MOA Arena.

The Cool Smashers moved a win away from bagging their breakthrough title after a couple of third place finishes last year.

Creamline ace hitter Alyssa Valdez and Thai import Kuttika Kaewpin led the way for the Tai Bundit-mentored squad. 

Game 2 is on Wednesday.

Kaewpin finished with 19 points off 15 attacks, two kill blocks and two aces including 15 excellent receptions and 11 digs while Valdez uncorked 15 kills in her 18-point performance while adding 11 digs for the Cool Smashers.

American import Laura Schaudt was solid at the net, scoring four of the team's 12 kill blocks for 13 points while ace setter Jia Morado tallied 32 excellent sets that led to 51 attack points for Creamline. 

The Cool Smashers played with more energy and extra fuel in the last two sets to outlast the High Flyers, who came from three grueling games in the semifinals including two straight five-set matches to boot out BanKo in the Finals berth race.

“Going into the Finals both teams siguro, high morale. I think playing three games in the semis medyo nagka-advantage kami kasi wala kaming 5-etter match and siguro may advantage kami kasi mas may energy kami towards the end of the game,” said Valdez, who is looking to end a three-year title drought since winning the defunct V-League Reinforced Conference crown back in 2015 under the PLDT banner.

American Tess Rountree scored 26 points while Grethcel Soltones had 11 for PayMaya, which had its back against the wall as its tries to force a series decider on Sunday. 

This article originally appeared on the ABS-CBN Sports website.