CREAMLINE overcame a sluggish start, defeating Petro Gazz, 26-28, 25-15, 25-13, 25-16, on Wednesday to draw first blood in the best-of-three semifinals in the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference at the Arena in San Juan City.
Birthday girl Jema Galanza and team captain Alyssa Valdez showed the way for the Cool Smashers, who stopped the Angels in one hour and 34 minutes to close in on the finals.
Galanza, who turned 22, had 22 spikes and finished with 24 points and made 18 excellent receptions.
Valdez unloaded 18 hits, while Michele Gumabao had 12 points and 16 digs. Middle blockers Risa Sato and Pau Soriano had nine markers apiece, while Jia Morado made 30 excellent sets.
The Cool Smashers will try to sweep the Angels on Saturday at 4 p.m.
“After ng first set namin niremind namin yung self namin na kasi we all know Petro Gazz,” Valdez said. “If we’re gonna play like that during the first set and the whole game, hindi malabo na dumating sa fifth set and alam natin gaano katibay yung depensa at blocking and pag nagkaroon sila ng confidence.”
“Niremind lang namin yung sarili na kailangan bago bumalik yung confidence ng kalaban namin, bago ulit gumana yung laro nila kailangan maunahan namin sila and I think it worked naman,” she added.
Creamline squandered a 23-20 lead in the first set with three straight errors, allowing Petro Gazz to tie the score. Gumabao put the Cool Smasher at set point but Paneng Mercado scored to force deuce.
Kai Baloaloa and Jessey De Leon delivered the winning hits in the first frame only for the Angels to run out of gas.
De Leon was the lone Petro Gazz player to score in double figures, finishing with 11 points, while Jonah Sabete and Cherry Nunag scored eight each.