(UPDATED) The Creamline Cool Smashers moved one win away from capturing the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference title after fending off the comeback bid of Santiago sisters-led Chery Tiggo Crossovers in Game 1 of their finals series Wednesday.
The Cool Smashers needed five sets to beat the Crossovers, who have been playing for five consecutive days already, 25-15, 25-21, 18-25, 19-25, 15-7 at the PCV Socio-Civic Cultural Center in Bacarra, Ilocos Norte.
Creamline was pushed to the edge after Chery Tiggo erased the 2-0 lead of the Cool Smashers and forged a decider.
But the Crossovers appeared to have run out of gas in the deciding set while Alyssa Valdez took over for the Cool Smashers to eventually claim the victory.
“We're just really thankful na everything worked for us during the fifth set. Siyempre we really can't count out Chery Tiggo and alam naman namin 'yun. But we're just really blessed na lahat talaga all in, talaga yung mindset namin is to give our all during the fifth set and nakita naman natin,” Valdez said after the grueling five-setter game.
Creamline dropped a 6-0 run early in the fifth, sparked by a crosscourt hit of Valdez that forced Chery Tiggo to call its second and last timeout, 6-1.
Jaja Santiago wound up with several points but the Cool Smashers held on to their lead, thanks to Valdez and Jema Galanza’s ace, 11-5.
The Phenom scored another off-the-block hit followed by another ace from Jia Morado to put Creamline at match point.
Valdez punctuated the first game of the finals series with a combination play.
Carlos led the Cool Smashers with 26 points while Valdez and Galanza added 21 and 17 markers, respectively.
Meanwhile, Santiago tallied with 25 points while her older sister Dindin Santiago Manabat had 19.