THE absence of Alyssa Valdez and Jia Morado allowed new heroes to emerge for Creamline and rise to the occasion, helping complete a 16-game sweep of the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Open Conference eliminations.
As the team’s dynamic duo missed several matches due to their commitment to the women’s national team and Valdez’s recurring right foot injury, the role players and second stringers rose took matters into their own hands.
Jema Galanza emerged as the go-to scorer and leader as she helped Creamline preserve its perfect record in the 16-game elimination round.
But she downplayed the individual recognition despite her rise to the MVP conversation as the team’s top scorer and No. 4 in the league, averaging 14.1 markers per game.
“Lahat maganda ilalaro kahit sino ipasok ni coach (Tai Bundit). Anytime talagang ready sila,” said Galanza after completing the elims with a four-set win over Motolite on Wednesday. “Happy ako na lahat nagstep up kasi hindi na nastress sila ate Ly na iisipin nila kailangan natin bumalik kasi ganito yung team ngayon lahat talaga nagstep up.”
Michele Gumabao knew that back-up setter Kyle Negrito and second stringers Fille Cainglet-Cayetano, Pau Soriano and Rose Vargas would step up to help her and fellow starters Galanza, Risa Sato, Celine Domingo and libero Kyla Atienza based on their healthy competition in practices.
“Yung mga second stringers namin pinakita talaga nila kung ano ang kaya nilang gawin. Sila yung dahilan kung bakit kami as first stringers gumaganda yung galaw namin kasi quality talaga yung training,” said Gumabao.
With every Cool Smasher ready to step up, the star opposite spiker believes that it only makes their team more dangerous, especially that Valdez and Morado, who cut short their Tokyo training camp, will be back in time for the PVL semis over the weekend against No.4 Motolite.
“Everybody deserves the playing time, kailangan sa sarili mo alam mo na kaya mo once na pinasok ka,” Gumabao said. “I think that’s what’s best talaga doon sa nangyaring situation namin.”
After a 16-game sweep, the best is yet to come for the Cool Smashers as their stars rejoin the vastly improved role players, making things more unpredictable for Bundit’s rotation.
“It’s only gonna get better from here and we’re ready to welcome back our teammates na medyo nawala sandali,” Gumabao said. “Ready lang lahat sa mangyayari you’ll never know kung sino gagamitin pagdating nila Alyssa at Jia.”