MANILA, Philippines -- KingWhale Taipei left a lasting impression on the local clubs in the Premier Volleyball League, who picked up many lessons from their matches against the guest team.
The Taiwanese club emerged as runners-up in the 2022 PVL Invitational Conference, falling to Creamline in straight sets in the gold medal match after having swept the semifinal phase.
"Siguro, mas lamang kami ng rest sa KingWhale," Creamline coach Sherwin Meneses said following their 25-21, 25-19, 25-8 triumph last Sunday that gave them a second championship in the PVL season.
"Talagang siguro 'yung third set, almost hindi na rin sila makakilos ng maganda, siguro sa pagod," he added, noting that it was KingWhale's third game in as many days while the Cool Smashers had the benefit of a one-day break.
Despite the result of the gold medal match, Meneses and his squad were still challenged by KingWhale, particularly by their floor defense. The coach noted that while they employ the same fast-paced offense, the Taiwanese club could be frustrating to play against.
"Ang hirap talagang patakan ng bola," said Meneses, whose team features some of the finest spikers in the league in Tots Carlos, Alyssa Valdez, and Jema Galanza. "So ayun, sinabi ko naman sa mga players na itodo na natin."
"Kung madepensahan nila, eh 'di paluin ulit natin. Ganoon lang naman 'yun naging [mindset] namin," he added.
Valdez, for her part, pointed to the intangibles of the Taiwanese club, praising their composure even when playing in front of big crowds. Over 13,000 fans -- majority of whom were clad in Creamline pink -- watched the final at the Mall of Asia Arena.
"It's just so nice to face a team with a never say die attitude. Very young, but not intimidated at all [by] any teams," Valdez said of KingWhale.
"'Yun 'yung kailangan namin as club teams," she stressed. "We just have to really go there, play, and play volleyball as it is, and enjoy it. 'Yun 'yung pinakita sa amin ng KingWhale. Mga bata man sila, but they're just playing the sport. They enjoy the sport."
Also impressed was Cignal HD coach Shaq delos Santos, whose team lost in four sets to KingWhale.
"Ibang level din talaga 'yung Taipei. Grabe talaga. Grabe, matalino silang maglaro. Talagang marami silang klase ng variation ng attacks, 'yung pattern ng defense nila, and then sobrang sipag nila," he said.
KingWhale's stint was beneficial for them as well, with head coach Teng Yen-Min expressing her gratitude for the experience gained by her young team.
"Maybe, the timing was off because in Taiwan we're currently in our resting season, resting period," she said. "With Creamline and the Philippine teams they're currently very active and very strong right now. But it's a learning experience."