CAGAYAN DE ORO – Alyssa Valdez and the formidable Creamline Cool Smashers brought their A-game to the Aquilino Q. Pimentel International Convention Center here, igniting the fervor of a roaring 9,862-strong crowd in this provincial showdown.
This marked the second instance that the Rebisco-backed squad ventured beyond the Metro for an out-of-town match in the Premier Volleyball League Second All-Filipino Conference. The previous encounter unfolded at the Batangas Sports Center, where they triumphed over Cignal in commanding straight sets. On both occasions, the Cool Smashers found themselves enveloped in a sea of pink, mirroring the overwhelming support they are accustomed to in the bustling metropolis.
The sheer expanse of the venue, nestled as if in the heart of a mountain, took the players by surprise. “Honestly, it’s very far, like a mountain, and we didn’t expect that everyone would really drive here as a family, as friends,” shared Batangas-native Alyssa Valdez, who, after playing sparingly in recent matches, relished the opportunity to complete a full game.
For the 30-year-old volleyball sensation, the unwavering support from their fans serves as a driving force during practices and fuels their peak performance on the court. "It never gets tiring to play and improve in our craft because of them," Valdez emphasized.
"I think it gives them joy; it gives us joy. What we want is to make those who watch us happy, and it’s just so nice that we can unite through sports," expressed the three-time conference MVP, highlighting the unifying power of sports.
In a determined effort to dazzle the Cagayanons, Valdez delivered her most outstanding performance of the season-ending conference, securing a team-high 13 points while contributing 10 excellent receptions that propelled the Cool Smashers to a sweeping victory over PLDT.
As one of the sport’s prominent advocates, the decorated spiker aspires for the league to bring more games to different provinces, hoping to inspire more youngsters to take up volleyball and other sports.
"Hopefully, we can visit more provinces so that the youth can become aware that they can also play volleyball and other sports as well. Looking forward to seeing them and hearing them cheer for our team and other teams," Valdez expressed, reflecting on the broader impact and outreach that volleyball can achieve beyond the confines of the city.