Games tomorrow (Wednesday)
3 p.m. – Cignal vs Sta. Lucia
6 p.m. – Choco Mucho vs PLDT
Ilocos Norte – In a match that was close throughout, Creamline closed out the third and fourth sets in smashing fashion as it held off Petro Gazz, 24-26, 28-26, 25-22, 25-20, yesterday to gain a share of the lead with Chery Tiggo in the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference at the PCV Socio-Civic Cultural Center in Bacarra here.
In those strong finishing kicks, new recruit Totz Carlos delivered key hits as she responded to Jia Morado’s feeds when top hitter Alyssa Valdez struggled at times trying to pierce through the Angels’ tough net defense and open hitter Jema Galanza got slowed down by a nagging knee.
“We really expected a high level of play (against Petro Gazz). And we came in prepared,” said Carlos, who came into the fray only in the last two frames and finished with seven hits. “If we had lapses, we have to fill in. And I’m always ready like what my coaches and my teammates remind me.”
Morado emerged the game’s best player with 35 excellent sets while adding three points even as Valdez dished off a triple-double of 16 points, 21 digs and 18 receptions and Jeanette Panaga shone with 15 hits against her former team, scoring heavily on quick hits and kill blocks.
Galanza added eight points and Risa Sato added seven hits.
Ces Molina paced Petro Gazz with 18 points while Remy Palma and Ria Meneses backed her up with 17 and 16 points, respectively. But the Angels failed to draw the desired firepower from Myla Pablo and Gretchel Soltones, who ended up with six hits apiece.
Creamline, which hurdled Sta. Lucia in four in Saturday’s inaugurals of the country’s first-ever pro volley league, fought back in the early going of the pivotal third and grabbed the lead at 18-17 as Carlos pumped in a power hit into the heart of Petro Gazz defense.
That also sparked the Cool Smashers’ 7-5 windup with Carlos chipping another blast that slipped off Relea Saet’s defense and coming through with a set clinching hit which Mean Mendrez had failed to save at baseline.
The former UP stalwart likewise stood in a couple of crucial plays at the end of the fourth, the last an off-the-block hit that sandwiched Petro Gazz two miscues, securing Creamline’s second straight win in the single round elims among 10 teams in a tie with the Crossovers.
“With slight adjustments on the court, we knew Totz would be ready as like the rest of the team,” said Creamline coach Sherwin Meneses.
Petro Gazz, which also pulled off a four-set win over Black Mamba Army last Monday, slipped to 1-1.
Twelve deadlocks marked the opening set which Petro Gazz stole on Molina’s heroics then the two teams fought through 17 ties in the next before Valdez took over in extension to level the match.
Meanwhile, Sta. Lucia hopes to feed on its big rebound and pounce on Cignal HD’s shaky start as the Lady Realtors shoot for a second win in three games today (Wednesday).
Choco Mucho, on the other hand, finally gets the chance to showcase its wares after its scheduled match with Bali Pure was moved to a later date due to a long delay in the Petro Gazz-Army tussle Sunday.
Gametime is at 6 p.m.
Matches are telecast live on One Sports (Free to Air), and One Sports+ (Pay TV) with both channels available for linear streaming on Cignal Play and on gigafest.smart and www.pvl.ph.