Powerhouse Creamline and a fired-up BanKo-Perlas side brace for PetroGazz and Ateneo fightback but remain confident of finishing off their respective rivals in the Final Four in the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Open Conference crown at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan today, Saturday.
The Cool Smashers shrugged off an opening set defeat and crushed the PetroGazz Angels in the next three frames to fashion out a 26-28, 25-15, 25-13, 25-16 victory in the opener of their best-of-three series last Wednesday with the former raring to re-assert their mastery over the latter and move closer to a second straight championship after ruling the Reinforced Conference last July.
Game time is at 4 p.m. after the 2 p.m. clash between BanKo-Perlas and Ateneo-Motolite with the Perlas Spikers all set to sweep the Lady Eagles, whom they have beaten in three meetings in the season-ending conference of the league organized by Sports Vision.
The Perlas Spikers actually failed to duplicate their pair of straight-set victories over the Lady Eagles in the elims as the latter sprang back from 0-2 set down to but cracked when the going got tough in the decider, enabling BanKo-Perlas to escape with a 25-23, 25-19, 21-25, 19-25, 15-6 win and move to a dream finals stint.
And unless PetroGazz and Ateneo come up with antidotes to their respective rivals’ edges in manpower and experience, Creamline and BanKo-Perlas could be on their way to arranging a title playoff starting Dec. 5.
Given their vaunted firepower, the Cool Smashers said they still have to toughen up on net defense and try to minimize their errors, particularly from the service box, to put away the Angels for another crack at the championship.
“We have to lessen our mistakes and work on our service and blocking,” said Jema Galanza, who fired 24 points and capped her sterling performance on her 22nd birthday with 18 excellent receptions.
BanKo-Perlas coach Dong dela Cruz, on the other hand, rued his wards’ tendency to relax, stressing the need to continue playing with the killer’s instinct that they showed against the Lady Eagles in the elims.
“We were able to execute our game plan in the first two sets but lost our focus in the next two. First and foremost, you can’t give teams like Ateneo a chance to mount a comeback,” said dela Cruz.
“But it’s a good thing that we were able to regain our bearing in the fifth set. It’s a good sign for us moving forward to recover from two set defeats,” he added.
Games can be viewed live via streaming on www.sports.abs-cbn.com/livestream.