MANILA, Philippines — Yeliz Basa led a balanced attack with 17 points as Creamline swept Petro Gazz, 25-21, 25-20, 25-23, to kick off their semifinals campaign with their first three-set win of the 2022 Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference on Thursday at Philsports Arena.
The Turkish spiker, who had limited playing time in the last two games of the elimination round, rose to the occasion, drilling 16 spikes to banner the locals’ collective effort and take an early 1-0 lead in the semis round-robin with the top two teams with the best records advancing to the best-of-three Finals.
Jema Galanza also shone with 14 points built on 12 attacks and two aces on top of eight digs. Alyssa Valdez had 11 points, including two blocks, and 15 receptions, while Ced Domingo added 10 markers, highlighted by two quick attacks that ended the one-hour and 48-minute game.
“We’re happy because we finally won in three sets. We have no problem regardless of how many sets as long as we win and we continue improving,” said Creamline coach Sherwin Meneses in Filipino. “But winning in three sets is a huge boost for us because getting three points is important for us since it will be needed in case there will be a tie just like what happened in the eliminations.”
“Hopefully, we continue to play better and improve as a team next game because it’s still a long way to go with two more matches,” he added as they battle Cignal on Sunday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Cool Smashers kept their cool despite the malfunction of the venue’s air conditioning that lasted until the end of the first set, where they broke a 15-15 tie by scoring six straight points before Valdez put on the finishing touches.
Creamline staved off Petro Gazz’s tough challenge in the third, erasing an 18-14 deficit as Galanza scored two of their four straight points to tie the set, 18-all. Lindsey Vander Weide stopped the bleeding and put her team two points shy of extending the match, 23-22, before MJ Phillips committed a crucial net violation.
Domingo pushed the Cool Smashers at match point with a kill off a floating ball, 24-23, followed by her quick attack paced by Jia De Guzman, who had 19 excellent sets and four points from three aces.
Creamline unleashed 53 kills against the elimination round’s top blocking team, which had nine blocks against the former’s five. The Cool Smashers also had a 6-0 edge in aces with Kyla Atienza protecting their floor with 19 digs and 10 receptions.
Defending Reinforced champion Petro Gazz is on the brink of getting dethroned after losing its first game of the semis, needing to beat Chery Tiggo on Sunday to salvage its title retention bid.
Vander Weide led the Angels with 16 points off 13 attacks and three blocks. Phillips had 11 points, all coming from attacks, while Aiza Maizo-Pontillas added 10 markers and 10 digs.
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