Cool Smashers, High Flyers seal PVL title playoff
Creamline’s Alyssa Valdez delivers one of her power tips against Pocari’s Arielle Love and Panaga. Ernie Peñaredondo
MANILA, Philippines — Top seed Creamline overpowered a crippled Pocari Sweat-Air Force side, 25-15, 25-18, 25-16, in sudden death to secure a finals seat for the first time in the Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan yesterday.
The Cool Smashers bombed away 45 kills as the Lady Warriors reeled from the shock absence of ace hitter Myla Pablo, who re-injured her back during the pre-game warm-ups and failed to see action, and only managed to counter with 25 attacks of their own.
Later in the day, No. 2 PayMaya fought back from the jaws of defeat as it foiled third seed Banko Perlas, 22-25, 14-25, 25-14, 25-23, 15-12, in their side of the semis rubber match to set up a titular clash with Creamline.
Tess Rountree dropped 35 points and produced 16 digs while Grethcel Soltones turned in another superb all-around game of 16 points, 19 excellent receptions and 16 digs as they lifted the High Flyers from 0-2 set down and 21-23 behind in the fourth to complete the stirring comeback win.
PayMaya and top seed Creamline begin their best-of-three title duel tomorrow at the MOA Arena at 3:45 p.m.
The Spikers fought behind American Kia Bright who fired a game-high 41 points, but fell short in their attempt to repeat their Game One 25-19, 26-28, 25-23, 25-23 win as they crumbled against PayMaya’s unrelenting assault.
“The first two sets, the players weren’t playing well. I reminded them that we want to go to the finals so we have to play hard,” said High Flyers coach Roger Gorayeb.
Earlier, Creamline also rained down 11 aces to Pocari Sweat-Air Force’s five on their way to booking the first finals seat, the team’s first after back-to-back third place finishes in last year’s inaugurals of the league organized by Sports Vision and backed by Mikasa and Asics.
The Cool Smashers thus sustained the momentum of their 25-16, 26-24, 22-25, 25-17 Game Two win last Wednesday after the Lady Warriors shut them out in the series opener, 25-23, 25-12, 25-23.