PVL: Creamline downs Chery Tiggo in 5 sets, but misses finals

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 29 2022 08:03 PM | Updated as of Nov 29 2022 08:44 PM

PVL Media.
The Creamline Cool Smashers will not make it to the Finals despite beating Chery Tiggo. PVL Media.

MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATED) Creamline will miss out on a grand slam in the 2022 season of the Premier Volleyball League (PVL).

This, even after the Cool Smashers outlasted Chery Tiggo in a five-set marathon, 25-16, 20-25, 14-25, 25-11, 15-9, on Tuesday evening at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City. Creamline recovered from a brutal third set to finish the match strong, but it wasn't enough to put them into the finals.

They finished the semis with a 2-1 win-loss record -- tied with Petro Gazz and Cignal HD. However, because they went the distance with the Crossovers, Creamline only finished with five points -- one fewer than the HD Spikers and the Gazz Angels.

This marks the end of seven consecutive finals appearances for the Cool Smashers, with Cignal HD and Petro Gazz set to contest the championship starting on Thursday. 

Creamline will play Chery Tiggo for the bronze.

"It's kinda weird na even if we won the game, unfortunately we weren't able to get into the finals," admitted Creamline star Alyssa Valdez, who scored 18 points on 15 hits and three aces. "But we have to finish it."

"We have to respect the game, and buong Creamline team did that. So I'm actually proud of the team also," she added.

The Cool Smashers started on a bright note, winning the opening set comfortably. But they had no answer for Jelena Cvijovic down the stretch of the second frame, as the Chery Tiggo import scored three of their last four points including the ace that knotted the match at 1-1. 

Chery Tiggo's net defense made the difference in the pivotal third set. After Yeliz Basa gave Creamline an 11-10 lead, the Crossovers scored the next eight points -- five off kill blocks with Cvijovic conspiring with Mylene Paat to shut down the Cool Smashers at the net. 

Creamline was never able to recover, and Paat gained her rhythm on offense as well. She scored back-to-back hits to give the Crossovers a double-digit lead, 22-12, and they cruised from there.

"I think pressure came in. And, it's been a while since we felt that pressure. It's been a while na nabigyan kami ng ganitong situation also. I think we actually didn't get to handle it in such a way na as a champion team," Valdez said of their breakdown in the third set.

Though aware that their chance at the finals had evaporated, Creamline still regrouped and dominated the fourth set. They proceeded to take an early 3-0 lead in the decider before holding off a late charge by the Crossovers.

Basa wrapped up the match with a dunk of an over-passed ball to finish with 27 points on 22 hits, two blocks, and three aces. 

Jema Galanza added 12 points for the Cool Smashers, who had a massive 67-47 advantage in kills. But the Crossovers had a 14-7 advantage in kill blocks; eight of those rejections came in the third set. 

Creamline is missing the PVL finals for the first time since the 2017 Reinforced Conference, where they finished in third place.