MANILA, Philippines — Kurashiki Ablaze dethroned the Creamline Cool Smashers, 19-25, 25-23, 25-19, 20-25, 15-13 to sweep the 2023 Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Invitational Conference on Sunday in front of ecstatic 8,223 fans at Philsports Arena.
The third-division Japanese club denied Creamline from completing a comeback as Asaka Tamaru capped her sensational game with a cold-blooded ace in the fifth set to help the Ablaze the midseason tournament
Saki Tanabe also came to the rescue for Kurashiki, scoring two consecutive clutch attacks to erase Creamline’s 13-12 lead and take the match point, 14-13, before Tamaru’s championship-clinching ace.
Kurashiki became the first overseas team to rule the PVL, preventing Creamline from claiming its second straight title this season and in the Invitational Conference.
This is the first time that the Cool Smashers lost a championship-clinching game since the 2021 PVL bubble tournament in Ilocos Norte at the hands of the Chery Tiggo Crossovers. But Creamline remained the winningest club with six titles in nine finals appearances.
Tamaru and Tots Carlos traded hard-hitting attacks to carry their respective teams but the Japanese got the last laugh to win all their six matches in the midseason tournament.
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