MANILA, Philippines -- The Creamline Cool Smashers were unfazed by the difficult circumstances leading up to their match on Monday, where their opponents in the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Invitational Conference changed twice.
Creamline was originally set to play guest team Kobe Shinwa, but the Japanese club withdrew from the conference over health and safety protocols. They were replaced by the Philippine national team, with the PVL announcing that they will take the place of Kobe Shinwa.
The national team also begged off, however, after the players of National University were not given clearance to compete in the PVL by their team manager. Of the 14 players in the roster, 12 were from the NU women's volleyball program.
The Cool Smashers wound up playing Cignal HD on Monday afternoon.
"Sila Coach Sherwin [Meneses] naman told us na kahit sinong itapat sa amin, we're physically and mentally prepared for it," Creamline setter Jia de Guzman said.
They had little trouble with the HD Spikers, securing a 25-17, 25-15, 25-22 sweep to stay unbeaten in the semifinals of the PVL Invitational Conference.
"Once we found out na there was a switch in opponent, everyone made it a point to scout and study on their own kaagad," said de Guzman, who earned Player of the Match honors after tallying 26 excellent sets.
"Nakalaban naman namin before ang Cignal. It was just a matter of controlling our basic errors," she added.
The professional players of the PVL had been looking forward to testing the youthful national team. Competing in the Invitational was also an opportunity for the squad to gain some match fitness ahead of the AVC Cup for Women.
But de Guzman stressed that they did not dwell on the lost opportunity to play against the national team.
"Our team right now is so focused kung sino 'yung next kalaban," she said.
"Kasi honestly speaking, hindi rin biro naman 'yung pinagdaanan ng lahat ng teams, from the first round pa lang hanggang sa semis. Sometimes every other day na 'yung game, so there's not much time to dwell on things like that," the setter explained.
"So whoever is our next opponent, we just do our best to prepare and recover physically and mentally for it."
Creamline will return to action on Friday against guest team KingWhale Taipei.