MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATED) The Creamline Cool Smashers displayed their full strength in a straight sets demolition of KingWhale Taipei to rule the 2022 Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Invitational Conference on Sunday night.
In front of a mostly pink-clad crowd of over 13,000 fans at the Mall of Asia Arena, the Cool Smashers cruised to a 25-21, 25-19, 25-8 triumph that gave them another conference title this season.
Creamline had also ruled the Open Conference in May. This is already their fifth PVL championship in seven Finals appearances.
Making this crown more special was that the Cool Smashers avenged their defeat to the Taiwanese club in the semifinals. KingWhale had defeated Creamline in five sets, 25-15, 17-25, 25-22, 24-26, 15-5, when they met on Friday at the FilOil EcoOil Centre in San Juan.
The Cool Smashers made sure there would be no repeat of that stunning result, as they secured a comprehensive triumph against KingWhale in just an hour and 26 minutes.
Conference MVP Tots Carlos scattered 14 points and Jema Galanza added 13 markers. Celine Domingo had 11 points including four kill blocks to earn Finals MVP honors, while team captain Alyssa Valdez had nine points, 13 digs, and eight excellent receptions.
Valdez posted all-around numbers despite suffering an ankle sprain in their match against KingWhale last Friday. Veteran playmaker Jia De Guzman was credited with 19 excellent sets, as the Cool Smashers had a 43-30 advantage in kills along with an 8-3 lead in blocks, and a 7-1 advantage in aces. Moreover, they only had 14 errors in the match.
Creamline held off a last-ditch rally by KingWhale in the opening set, as the Taiwanese club rallied from an 11-16 deficit to come within two points, 21-19. But a hit by Carlos and a block by Domingo restored order, and a 1-2 play by Jia de Guzman brought Creamline to set point, 24-20.
KingWhale saved a point when Jema Galanza sent her attack low, but Domingo came up with a huge rejection of Brazilian opposite hitter Beatriz Flavio de Carvalho to secure the one-set advantage for the Cool Smashers.
In the second set, Creamline recovered from a 10-16 hole, uncorking a 15-3 run to end the frame. The substitution of Michele Gumabao and Kyle Negrito to give the Cool Smashers a full frontline proved instrumental, with Gumabao delivering crucial hits down the stretch, including the crosscourt kill that put them at set point, 24-19.
A net violation by KingWhale wrapped up the second frame, and gave the Cool Smashers all the momentum they needed in the third. The visitors were caught flat-footed in the third set, where Creamline uncorked 11 kills and four aces to run away with the win.
Domingo capped a superb performance by smashing the quick hit that put Creamline at match point, 24-7. Carvalho briefly kept KingWhale alive, but Valdez unleashed a trademark crosscourt attack to end matters.
Carvalho had 12 points, as the lone double-digit scorer for KingWhale.
In an earlier match, Cignal HD overhauled a two-set deficit to down PLDT and take the bronze medal.