PVL: Sigh of relief for Creamline after hard-earned win vs. PLDT

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 07 2022 02:35 PM

Creamline captain Alyssa Valdez tests the net defense of the PLDT High Speed Hitters in their PVL Invitational Conference semifinal match. PVL Media.
Creamline captain Alyssa Valdez tests the net defense of the PLDT High Speed Hitters in their PVL Invitational Conference semifinal match. PVL Media.

MANILA, Philippines -- Creamline captain Alyssa Valdez acknowledged that the Cool Smashers were "very lucky" to emerge victorious against a surging PLDT squad after rallying for a five-set win on Saturday night.

The Cool Smashers fell behind by two sets, squandering a huge advantage in the second frame before turning things around in the next three sets to grab their second win in the semifinals of the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Invitational Conference.

Four players scored in double-digits for Creamline in their 22-25, 25-27, 25-21, 25-18, 15-12 win at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.

"We're very lucky in this game," said Valdez, who had 14 points in the contest. "During the second set, we were really ahead, way ahead. But grabe rin kasi talaga 'yung nilalaro ng PLDT."

Creamline was up 18-11 and reached set point, 24-19. But they fell victim to a massive fightback by the High Speed Hitters, with Mika Reyes rejecting Jema Galanza to put PLDT at set point, 26-25. A hitting error by Valdez completed the comeback.

"We know they're peaking at the right time," said Valdez, who made up for her error with key hits in the third and fourth. "Nandoon talaga 'yung laro nila."

"Siguro, noong second set pa lang, tinanggap na namin na kailangan naming harapin 'yung ganoong challenge," she added.

The Cool Smashers were able to get their offense going in the third and fourth sets, and appeared headed for a comfortable win after taking an early 4-0 lead in the deciding frame. But the High Speed Hitters recovered anew, as Eli Soyud gave them a lift off the bench.

A Soyud block capped a 6-1 PLDT run to tie the count at 11. Creamline was the better team down the stretch, however, with Jeanette Panaga and Tots Carlos coming through with clutch blocks to secure the victory.

Creamline coach Sherwin Meneses said the tough match was not entirely unexpected, even though they had swept PLDT when they met in the elimination round.

"Siyempre, semifinals, lahat ibibigay 'yung best nila," the coach said. "Ganoon talaga, nahabol. Basta walang bibigay, walang magsasarili. Stay sa system, at makaka-recover din."

Valdez is hoping that their strong finish to the match will be the boost that the Cool Smashers need for the rest of the semifinals. At 2-0, they currently sit at the top of the standings.

"Overall, hopefully maging confidence-booster 'to," said Valdez. "Medyo dikit-dikit 'yung mga games, pero after this time, sana mabalik din yung confidence as a team and as individuals."

Creamline drew 22 points from Carlos, while Panaga and Galanza both finished with 14 points in the match. Libero Kyla Atienza earned Player of the Game honors with 23 digs and 17 excellent receptions.