Valdez powers Creamline Cool Smashers past Tacloban
Creamline flaunted endgame poise in the last two sets to subdue a surprisingly tough Tacloban side, 25-14, 27-25, 26-24, and secure a quarterfinal berth in the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Reinforced Conference at the Batangas City Sports Coliseum in Batangas yesterday.
The Cool Smashers came off a weeklong break in imposing form following a four-set win over the defending champion Pocari-Air Force Lady Warriors in Batangas, dominating the Fighting Warays in the opening frame only to struggle in the face of the latter’s spirited charge in the next two.
But they bucked the pressure and showed composure in each extended set to complete the straight-set win, their fourth against a win to seize the solo lead and gain a spot in the quarters of the season-opening conference of the league organized by Sports Vision.
But Creamline wants to nail one of the two outright semis seats with the Cool Smashers facing title favorite Water Defenders on Saturday, June 2 and the Iriga Navy Lady Oragons on June 6.
Local hero Alyssa Valdez fired 22 hits, including 14 kills and eight services aces, three of which she delivered in a crucial windup in the third that allowed the Cool Smashers to regain control after trailing the Fighting Warays in the second and third frames.
“It’s always exciting to play not only in my hometown but out-of-town in general because the crowd. They’re very energetic,” said Valdez, who hails from San Juan, Batangas. “The game also got tiring, especially the last two sets but I was able to draw energy from the crowd.”
Thai Kuttika Kaewpin backed Valdez with 16 hits and eight excellent while Serbian Nikolina Asceric highlighted her nine-point effort with a couple of kill blocks. Risa Sato also scored on quick hits and a pair of aces for seven points.
Julia Morado, who scored two points, tossed in all but one of the Cool Smashers’ 30 excellent sets while spiking her effort with eight digs.
Thais Hyapha Amporn and Sasiwimol Sangpan combined for 25 points while Jovielyn Prado scored 11 markers for the Fighting Warays, who led by many as six in the second, 7-13, and four in the third, 18-22, before yielding in the end.
It was Tacloban’s second straight setback as the Warays dropped to joint fifth with the PetroGazz Angels at 2-3 heading to the final week of elims of the tournament backed by Mikasa and Asics.