Creamline through to PVL Finals after sweeping Petro Gazz

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 09 2021 07:08 PM | Updated as of Aug 09 2021 07:43 PM

Tots Carlos shone in Creamline's straight sets victory over Petro Gazz. PVL Media Bureau.
Tots Carlos shone in Creamline's straight sets victory over Petro Gazz. PVL Media Bureau.

(UPDATED) The Creamline Cool Smashers marched into the finals of the 2021 Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Open Conference after sweeping Petro Gazz in Game 2, Monday at the PCV Socio-Civic Cultural Center in Bacarra, Ilocos Norte.

One day after escaping the Angels in five sets, the Cool Smashers needed only three sets to take the second game of their semifinals series, 27-25, 25-22, 25-16, and become the first team to punch a ticket to the finals.

Creamline, the defending Open Conference champion, plays either Choco Mucho or Chery Tiggo in the best-of-3 finals. The other semifinals series is headed to a do-or-die game.

Tots Carlos was superb once more for the Cool Smashers, firing 21 points including 18 kills. Jema Galanza contributed 12 points, 14 digs, and nine excellent receptions, while Jeanette Panaga scored 10 points including four kill blocks.

"It's a total team effort for the Cool Smashers," said team captain Alyssa Valdez, who had nine points in the game. "Mapa sa labas ng court, 'yung mga second stringers or 'yung coaches, lahat ng reminders talaga nila, on point."

The Cool Smashers outlasted the Angels in a thrilling opener, which saw Petro Gazz squander two set points. They reached set point first off a Rem Palma hit, 24-23, only for Valdez to knot the count with an off-the-block hit.

Another Palma kill put Petro Gazz ahead once more, 25-24, but Valdez again came up clutch to tie the set. Carlos uncorked a crosscourt hit that put the Cool Smashers in control, and an attack error by Myla Pablo sealed the match in Creamline's favor.

The Cool Smashers then pulled away late in Set 2, with a Carlos hit breaking a 22-all deadlock before Rose Vargas came off the bench to serve an ace. A Galanza attack completed Creamline's win in the second frame.

It was all Creamline in Set 3, with Carlos and Galanza taking turns in overwhelming the Petro Gazz defense while the Angels succumbed to errors. 

The Cool Smashers had a 47-36 edge in attacks, and a 10-2 advantage in blocks against a team that featured the PVL's best blocker in Meneses. They also had an 8-1 lead in service aces.

No Petro Gazz player reached double-digits, with Meneses scoring nine points including two blocks. Ces Molina added eight points but Pablo was limited to just three markers, a day after torching Creamline for 26 points.