spot_img
29.5 C
Philippines
Monday, May 27, 2024

Best of the lot: Meneses authors Cool Smashers’ historic sweep

- Advertisement -

There he was, surrounded by his players amid a victorious atmosphere that enveloped the room, a radiant smile gracing his face as he spoke to the press, the echo of success reverberating in his words.

“Sa lahat ng interview ko masaya, ngayon sobrang saya, kasi syempre, natapos namin yung conference na champion at walang injuries. So napakasaya namin lalo na magki-Christmas at makakapagpahinga na,” said Creamline coach Sherwin Meneses, moments after steering the peerless Cool Smashers to an epic 22-25, 25-20, 29-27, 24-26, 15-12 victory over Choco Mucho in Game Two of the All-Filipino Conference finals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Saturday night that completed another sweep (15 games) of a Premier Volleyball League championship.

Meneses, a master of motivation, also expressed gratitude for the support of the Rebisco family that believed in their potential and credited his team’s depth and resilience for their success, emphasizing the burning desire to win that ringed through every training session.

“Hindi ko nga ma-gets kung, ‘yung sinasabi nilang malalim ‘yung bench namin, lalo na nu’ng last conference, mga previous conferences, ‘yun din naman ‘yung naglaro – so plus two,” said Meneses, who lost top setter Jia de Guzman and middle Ced Domingo after the Invitational but tapped Bernadette Pons, Mafe Buenafe, and Bea Bonafe.

“So ngayon, mas ok ‘yung team pero last conference talaga mas malalim. Ang point namin, kahit na may nawala, may mag step-up kasi siyempre gusto ng mga players talaga manalo. Every training, napaka-competitive kahit sila sila lang parang nag-gi-game sila everyday,” he added.

Meneses also spoke of the challenges they had faced, particularly in the nerve-wracking fifth set that had them trailing by three.

“Five sets, kasi anybody’s game na yan eh. Totoo, may buwenas din kami kasi ganu’n ‘yung nangyari. Wala namang nakakaalam kung ano ‘yung mangyayari sa game lalo na sa Set 5,” said Meneses.

Still, within that unpredictability and uncertainty, he found solace in the unwavering composure of his players. On the brink, the Cool Smashers’ collective calmness prevailed, turning the tide completely in their favor.

“‘Yung composure kasi ng team nandoon pa naman, so ‘yun sa tingin ko ang pinaka-magandang nangyari, lalo na nu’ng down kami ng 3 points. So siguro ‘yung break napunta sa amin at ‘yung willingness na manalo, kasi ‘yung Choco Mucho talagang gustong-gusto din manalo,” said Meneses.

Finals MVP Tots Carlos also emphasized the mental fortitude required for success. The departure of two starters didn’t hinder the team, she said, it was their collective mindset, determination and adaptability that prevailed.

“Lagi naman kaming nire-remind din na ito ‘yung meron kami so ito ‘yung papaganahin namin, ito ‘yung tatrabahuhin namin and ‘yun, masaya kami na ‘yun nga na panalo kami and hindi rin kasi namin iniisip ‘yun talaga kasi nga ‘yung mindset namin is kung anong meron kami this season ‘yun ‘yung papaganahin namin,” said Carlos, who fired 16 points in Game One and exploded for 26 in the next.

“Sobrang saya namin kasi ayun nga ang dami naming pinagdaanan. Sabi ko nga kanina, muhkang madali pero ‘yung every training, every game, pag mindset namin siyempre iba eh so sobrang saya namin na nanalo kami this (conference), na-sweep namin and sobrang galing lang talaga ni coach Sherwin,” said the former UP standout, who also drew support from Jema Galanza, Alyssa Valdez, Pangs Panaga, Bernadette Pons, Risa Sato, Michele Gumabao, Lorie Bernardo, Kyla Atienza, Ella de Jesus and Mafe Galanza.

“‘Di naman mahirap, ‘di naman sobrang hirap kasi ‘yung cooperation ng buong team nandiyan. Nag-step up si Kyle (Negrito) sa pwesto, si (Bernadette) Pons nandiyan, so ‘yung lineup wala namang problema samin talaga, it’s more on du’n sa mindset ng team kaya kami nananalo at kaya namin tinatrabaho lahat kasi kahit sino pa ang maglaro, kahit sino pa ‘yung lagay mo sa loob, gusto talaga namin manalo,” added Carlos.

The championship, its second All-Filipino crown, was Creamline’s seventh since it joined the country’s premier women’s volley league organized by Sports Vision in 2017. It matched the team’s Open Conference successful title-retention drive in 2019 where the Cool Smashers won all their 20 games.

Creamline also scored a perfect campaign in last year’s Open Conference.

But the latest feat marked not just another championship for Creamline but a triumph for Philippine volleyball with Meneses and Carlos acknowledging the historic significance of the moment.

“Siyempre, sobrang saya namin at nakasama kami sa history na ‘yan. ‘Yung volleyball sa Pilipinas lumalaki na. Talagang pinagpapaguran din ng players talaga para maganda ‘yung mapanood nila sa every game na mapapanood nila,” said Meneses.

“Personally, masaya ako at naggo-grow nga ang volleyball sa Pilipinas at masaya kami na sinusuportahan kami ng mga tao,” she added. “‘Yun din ‘yung sabi ni ate Ly (Alyssa Valdez) na sobrang sarap maglaro sa ganung sitwasyon kasi ang daming crowd, ang daming sumusuporta, ‘di namin marinig ‘yung isa’t isa pero ‘yun, ‘yun din ‘yung mga hindi rin natin mapapalitan or di alam kung kelan mauulit so sobrang grateful kami na nandoon kami sa sitwasyon na ‘yun. Nakita namin na sinusuportahan talaga tayo ng mga fans.”

Game Two drew a mammoth crowd of 24,459, setting a new record in Philippine volleyball. It surpassed the 22,843 fans who watched the UAAP Season 78 finals in 2016.

“Talagang sana madagdagan pa para mas maging masaya lahat. So thankful ako sa mga fans na nanood kasi talagang sobrang dami. Tapos kami, ‘di narin magkarinigan kanina. So sana mapatuloy pa talaga yung Philippine volleyball,” said Meneses.

LATEST NEWS

Popular Articles