Cool Smashers punch finals ticket with rout of Vietnamese

Jia de Guzman (front) proves instrumental with her faultless playmaking. —AUGUST DELA CRUZ

Jia de Guzman (front) proves instrumental with her faultless playmaking. —AUGUST DELA CRUZ

Creamline is back in familiar territory, and the Cool Smashers will not stop what they have been doing to get there.

After being pushed to the limit by a young foreign foe, the Cool Smashers pulled out a 25-23, 25-23, 25-17 victory over Vietnam’s Kinh Bac-Bac Ninh to return to the PVL Invitational Conference title series. But that, as coach Sherwin Meneses said, is the start of another period of hard work.

“We haven’t achieved our goal [yet]. Hopefully, we win the final again [and] we will work hard for it,” Meneses said after the win carved out in an hour and 36 minutes as Creamline stayed perfect in seven games overall, and in four in the semis, to be the first team in the finals.

Jia de Guzman was a sight to watch, doing all the right things in orchestrating the Creamline offense.

“This was the first time that we faced an opponent from Vietnam, so there were a little adjustments for us,” De Guzman said of the tight first two sets.

Creamline will be closing out against Kurashiki Japan on Friday, with the Ablaze having a solid chance of advancing to the title series with a win over F2 Logistics at press time.

Alyssa Valdez, Jema Galanza and Tots Carlos again stood at the forefront of Creamline’s attacking game, though it was the solid block of Ced Domingo that wrapped up the match.Creamline, which beat KingWhale Taipei to rule the Invitational Conference last year, is playing its ninth finals of the last 10 tournaments and will be the favorite no matter which opponent it faces.

Carlos finished with 16 points. Valdez put up 11 points and had 11 excellent receptions, while Galanza added 10 points and 10 digs.

“We really needed this win for us to be able to be back in the finals. We’re grateful that we won,” said Valdez, who has scored in double digits for the fifth straight game. INQ

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