March 15, 2023

Creamline ready for Valdez-less playoffs

Creamline Cool Smashers head coach Sherwin Meneses is preparing his team for the possibility of playing without team captain Alyssa Valdez in the upcoming semifinals. Valdez has yet to make her All-Filipino Conference debut due to a right knee injury she sustained in the previous season's bronze medal match against Chery Tiggo. Despite her absence, the Cool Smashers clinched the top seed in the eliminations with a 7-1 win-loss record after defeating Akari in a four-set match.


Meneses revealed in a post-game interview that they had already prepared for the scenario of playing without Valdez at the start of the season. He emphasized the priority of Valdez's health, which is still the main concern of the team. The three-time PVL Most Valuable Player underwent a medical procedure two weeks ago to aid her recovery.


"Actually, we already prepared for the possibility of playing without Ly [Valdez] at the start of the season," Meneses bared.


"Because as of now, she's still not really able to play. Her health is still our number one priority."


In Valdez's absence, the rest of the Cool Smashers stepped up to secure their top seed spot. Michele Gumabao, Jema Galanza, and Tots Carlos all scored in double digits in their win against Akari. Gumabao led the team with 19 points on 17 attacks, while Galanza contributed 17 points from 14 attacks, two blocks, and an ace. Carlos had an impressive all-around performance with 16 points, 16 excellent receptions, and 12 excellent digs.


Meneses acknowledged that there is still a lot of work to be done heading into the semifinals, particularly in terms of consistency. He stressed the importance of focusing on every point and revealed that the team would continue to prepare for the next round of the competition. Despite their preparation, Meneses was happy that no one got hurt during their game against Akari, and they will head into the semifinals with a healthy roster.


"We still have a lot to improve on heading into the semifinals. Consistency is very important in every point, so we need to focus on each point. As you saw in the third set, we didn't play well, but I'm happy that nobody got injured, and we'll be playing in the semis with a healthy roster, so we'll continue to prepare," said the decorated head coach.