CREAMLINE made a successful defense of its 2023 Premier Volleyball League All-Filipino Conference title by fending off Petro Gazz, 20-25, 25-20, 25-18, 25-15, in winner-take-all Game Three on Thursday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Conference MVP Tots Carlos led from the front to lead the Cool Smashers comeback after dropping the first set, while Best Outside Spiker Jema Galanza delivered the game-winning kill off a combination play.
Galanza finished with triple-double numbers of 19 points, 16 digs and 11 receptions to help Creamline complete its comeback from a set down in Game 3 - and from a 0-1 deficit in the best-of-three championship series.
More than anything else, the Cool Smashers' sixth championship in eight finals appearances in the country's first professional volleyball league showed the team's talent depth in the absence of longtime star Alyssa Valdez.
Setter Jia Morado de Guzman was named Finals MVP.
Carlos added 16 points while Gumabao finished with 18 points on 14 attacks and four blocks to cap an impressive tournament that saw her step into a starting role while Valdez recovered from a knee injury.
Celine Domingo added 12 points on four blocks while Risa Sato was the spark off the bench with six points and a set-winning ace.
Grethcel Soltones had the hot hands in the Angels side and finished with 17 points and 11 digs as Petro Gazz mirrored its bridesmaid finish from the last conference.