Creamline came through in a duel of spurts in the opening frame, dominated the next then rallied to snatch the third and complete a straight-set 25-21, 25-20, 25-23 victory over Petro Gazz at the start of the semifinal round of the Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference at the Philsports Arena on Thursday.
By pulling it off in varying fashions, the Cool Smashers’ further underscored their superb all-round game anchored on their explosive hitting, burying the Angels with 53 attack points with import Yeliz Basa and Jema Galanza combining for 28 before winding up with 17 and 14 points, respectively.
“Wala naman problema kahit ilang set, basta manalo,” said Creamline coach Sherwin Meneses, whose wards stared at defeat in the third after trailing 14-18 on a Lindsey Vander Weide’s off-the-block hit.
But the Angels surprisingly settled for drop shots, enabling the Cool Smashers to counter with Tots Carlos and Galanza scoring on back-to-back hits with another pair of Basa and Galanza blasts capping a 4-0 run that forced a tie.
Still, Petro Gazz refused to crack and fought back to surge ahead again at 23-22 on a Vander Weide power tip. But a costly MJ Phillips net miscue stymied their charge while virtually helping set the stage for the Cool Smashers’ decisive closing 3-0 run.
And Ced Domingo stepped up again the way she did in their past matches, scoring on a quick hit off a broken play then completing another brilliant de Guzman feed that bounced off Shiela Pineda’s arms and which Vander Weide had failed to save.
“Everyone really went back to the basics when we were trailing. The team stayed composed,” said de Guzman. “Until they score 25, we knew we can still chase them.”
“Malaking bagay sa amin ito (win), lalo na three sets kasi siempre, yung mga points napakahalaga kung mag-tie before the finals. So just like sa elims, maraming nagkatalo sa points. So it’s an advantage for us to score 3 points here,” said Meneses.
“Hopefully, next game, maglaro pa kami ng maganda at ma-improve ung team kasi malayo pa, dalawang games pa,” he added.
The Cool Smashers take on the Cignal HD Spikers on Sunday before facing the Chery Tiggo Crossovers on Tuesday.
Vander Weide finished with 16 points while Phillips and Aiza Pontillas added 11 and 10 points, respectively, for the Angels, who beat the Cool Smashers in the finals of this conference last 2019 at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.