CREAMLINE remained unscathed as it survived University of the Philippines, 19-25, 18-25, 25-18, 25-17, 16-14, in the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference on Saturday at The Arena in San Juan.
The Cool Smashers, who played their second game without Alyssa Valdez, earned their sixth straight win the hard way to cement their hold of the top spot.
Pau Soriano led the way for Creamline with 25 points, while top hitter Valdez is in Japan for the national team’s training camp.
“Yes, that’s what I’m telling them, just believe. Noong down kami two sets, sinabi namin believe we will get this set,” said Creamline coach Oliver Almadro.
The Cool Smashers kept their composure despite trailing, 0-2, in the match and slowly got their rhythm going in the third and fourth sets.
Creamline looked to complete a come-from-behind win after it led, 11-9, but UP clawed back to reach match point, 14-13, after a Diana Carlos attack.
Cesca Racraquin tied the contest before veteran middle blocker Ging Balse scored on a cross court hit and another hit by Racraquin bailed out the Cool Smashers.
“Coming into this game, sabi ko pairalin ang maturity. Dugout pa lang, sinabi na namin na UP, mga bata, they will challenge you, mag-prepare lang kayo sa mangyayari,” said Almadro.
Racraquin finished with 17 points for Creamline, while Rosemarie Vargas had 13 markers and setter Jia Morado tossed 66 of the team’s 68 excellent sets in a match that took an hour and 49 minutes to finish.
Although the Cool Smashers gave away 40 points to the Lady Maroons courtesy of their errors, they outscored the Diliman-based team in spikes (62-47) and in blocks (9-5).
Carlos made 18 points for UP, while Isa Molde had 14. The Lady Maroons bowed out of the semis race with a 1-5 win-loss record.