Creamline dropped a set for the first time in four matches but the Cool Smashers still found a way to emerge on top and extend their unbeaten run, thwarting BanKo-Perlas, 25-10, 25-19, 17-25, 25-23, late Wednesday and firming up their hold of the lead in the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Open Conference at the Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
After clipping the Perlas Spikers in the first two sets with their cohesion and power game, the defending champions appeared headed to keeping their unblemished card but uncharacteristically squandered a huge 11-3 bulge in the third.
Finding their rhythm and pouncing on their rivals’ sudden slump, the Perlas Spikers came through with 10 unanswered points to wrest control then fended off every Creamline charge to deal the Cool Smashers their first set loss of the conference following the latter’s straight-set romps over Air Force, Motolite and Chef’s Classic.
“We have faced BanKo a number of times so practically, we know each other moves, tendencies, capabilities and abilities more than skills,” said Creamline top hitter Alyssa Valdez. “They play with a lot of heart so it’s really tough to beat them.”
But they did, putting Creamline two full games ahead of PacificTown-Army, which swept its first two games in the season-ending conference of the league organized by Sports Vision.
After a 13-point game against the Jet Spikers, a 15-hit output versus Motolite and a 16-marker effort against Chef’s Classic while keeping all the others involved in offense, Valdez unloaded 26 hits against the Perlas Spikers, including six aces and two kill blocks while producing 15 digs in another sterling performance.
The match started two hours late owing to a pair of five-set thrillers that saw the Lady Troopers hacking out a come-from-behind win over the Choco Mucho Flying TItans in record fashion (39-41, 19-25, 25-19, 25-20, 15-12) and the BaliPure Water Defenders ending a long scoreless campaign with a 26-24, 16-25, 25-19, 17-25, 17-15 escape over the Air Force Jet Spikers.
But the Cool Smashers stayed hot despite the long wait with Jema Galanza posting 16 points, Michele Gumabao adding 12 markers and Risa Sato chipping in 11 points, mostly on quick hits, with Jia Morado producing 22 excellent sets that anchored Creamline’s 54 attack points.
BanKo-Perlas actually kept the game close in the fourth, even forcing a tie at 14 and battling Creamline to a seesaw match with Sue Roces firing another hit for a 21-all count.
But the Cool Smashers came through with a strong finishing kick, coming through with three straight points and overcoming back-to-back miscues to clinch the set and the match on Gumabao’s kill block off Nicole Tiamzon.
Dzi Gervacio finished with 16 points, Kathy Bersola had 13 markers, including six kill blocks, and Tiamzon scored 10 markers for the Perlas Spikers, who thus kept a win-loss-win-loss run in the tournament backed by Mikasa, Asics, and KFC.