ALYSSA Valdez and the Creamline Cool Smashers leaned on Coach Tai Bundit’s ‘happy-happy’ mindset to overcome strong challenger Petro Gazz in Game One of their best-of-three Finals series of the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Reinforced Conference.
“Actually it has been a while na intense ang Finals. Ang katapatan mo veterans, ang katapatan mo masyadong malalakas,” said Valdez after Creamline drew the first blood with a 24-26, 25-16, 25-16, 25-22 victory over Petro Gazz on Wednesday at the Arena in San Juan City.
“I guess mina-mindset lang sa amin ni coach Tai all the time na to play happy, na walang pressure.”
Bundit’s ‘happy-happy’ mantra brought out Creamline’s championship poise even after the first-set loss as the team fought back from a 14-17 deficit in the fourth frame to inch a victory away from golden repeat in the Reinforced Conference and franchise’s third straight PVL title.
“Kasi if we pressure ourselves to be perfect dun mahihirapan eh. Yung flow naman ng game hindi naman laging perfect so we have to adjust,” said Valdez, who had 16 points laced with 15 digs and 11 excellent receptions.
“Yung situational lagi ang pina-practice namin lagi, yung situational sa game. I think na-apply naman namin in today’s game so maganda rin ang naging result,” she added.
The Creamline skipper bared that they focused on defense to limit super imports Wilma Salas and Janisa Johnson and the locals.
“Kasi the past few games ng Petro Gazz nakita namin na distributed well ang mga bola. So we aim to i-minimize ang ibang nakaka-score,” Valdez said. “We tried na i-minimize lang and we really want to force them to make errors. Mahirap kasi silang depensahan eh.”
The strategy of the Cool Smashers worked as Johnson and Salas struggled in their attack percentage with only 32.7% and 30.6%, respectively, from averaging above 40% in the past games.
Creamline, which only had 16 errors, forced 31 from PetroGazz, its most error-filled game this season.
With just a win away from their third title, Valdez is going for the kill in Game Two but approaching it cautiously as she knows how PetroGazz, eagerly, seeks to force a rubber match.
“We’re thinking of the worst but also thinking of the best also for our team. What’s the best for our team is winning the next game,” Valdez said. “For sure yung PetroGazz, kitang-kita namin sa latter part of the set very eager sila, nandoon ang passion nila, ang heart nila so for sure dadalhin nila yun sa second game. Sana kami rin dalhin namin yung teamwork.”