Wednesday, July 24

Creamline zips up semifinal spot after turning back PLDT, vows to get even better

Creamline’s Ced Domingo (No. 13) towers over PLDT’s Mika Reyes for the kill. —PVL PHOTO

Moments after showing no mercy to a formidable foe, Creamline, through prolific two-way player Ced Domingo, casually said something that should make the rest of the Premier Volleyball League All-Filipino Conference field shake in their boots.

“We’re thankful that we got to [semis] again,” Domingo said in Filipino after a 25-20, 25-21, 25-17 creaming of PLDT that gave the Cool Smashers the first semifinal berth at PhilSports Arena on Tuesday.

And then came this: “We’re happy because our training is paying off, but I believe we’re just about to peak. Come the semifinals, we’ll do better.”

Creamline rose to 6-1, while PLDT dropped into a second place tied at press time at 4-2 with F2 Logistics and Petro Gazz, with the Cargo Movers still playing crowd-darling Choco Mucho.

The Cool Smashers made sure that making it to the next round wouldn’t be left to chance this time after a bitter experience in losing out in the tiebreaker last season.

Quotient heartache

“We don’t want to rely on quotients, just wins,” said Creamline coach Sherwin Meneses in Filipino. “We’ll work hard in the semis so we don’t feel what we felt before.”

That’s bad news for their rivals since Creamline, whose only loss came in a painful five-setter against F2, hasn’t dropped a set in its wins so far.

Three players scored in double-digits to propel Creamline, with Tots Carlos finishing with a game-high 18 points built on 15 kills and Domingo rattling off 17. Jema Galanza was a silent contributor with 11 points.

Creamline had a total of 48 attack points, 17 more than the High Speed Hitters.

Michelle Morente led PLDT with 12 points and Mika Reyes wound up with 11. Dell Palomata and Jovie Prado each fired seven points, but Meanne Mendrez, who averaged 13.7 points in their victories over Akari, Petro Gazz, Army and Chery Tiggo, struggled with just three points.

“It will be a different story for us in the semis,” Meneses went on. “We need to keep on improving because it will be a clean slate for every team there—back to zero.”

Hot start

Close to 8,000 fans showed up to witness two hot teams tangle, with the High Speed Hitters coming into the tussle seeking to extend a four-game winning streak.

But Creamline was in its elements early and the Cool Smashers put the High Speed Hitters out of their misery in just one-hour and 29 minutes.

In the second set, Creamline led, 23-19. Morente and Mendrez scored back-to-back points for PLDT only for Galanza to finish off the rally with back-to-back points, 25-21.

The Cool Smashers opened the third frame in the same sizzling way they did the first two, with an 11-5 lead proving too big for the deflated High Speed Hitters to overcome. INQ

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