By Juan Carlo Mercado

No Valdez, no problem for the Cool Smashers.

Despite the absence of ace spiker Alyssa Valdez, Creamline Cool Smashers quickly dismantled the Cignal HD Spikers in three straight sets, 25-16, 25-21, 25-15, in the PVL All-Filipino Conference Elimination Rounds at the FilOil EcoOil Centre, February 9.

Photo Courtesy of Inquirer Sports

The well-balanced Cool Smashers had an impressive showdown, showcasing their suffocating net and floor defense and bucking numerous combination plays, scoring 46 excellent digs, and outscoring Cignal’s 23 points with 48 in all three frames to conquer Cignal in a 78-minute duel.

Creamline's Tots Carlo and Jema joined forces as they both confused the HD Spikers' defense with their jaw-dropping combination attacks as well as their powerful pipe attacks, combining for 26 points.

After the tilt, Creamline’s head coach Sherwin Meneses shared his statement on the impressive performance of his team.

“Overall, we really moved well today,” said Meneses.

“The other breaks went our way except for the second set where Cignal rallied midway. Overall, we had a nice game and I hope that continues.”, he added.

In the last set, Creamlines' hitter Michelle Gumabao unleashed a kill and an ace to annex her squad’s lead to 10, 23-13. 

Meanwhile, the sizzling Creamline extended their defensive prowess with libero Kyla Atienza acting as the guardian of the floor however, Ces Molina stopped the bleeding for Cignal with a kill to stir a comeback, 23-15.

However, Carlos counter-attacked with a spike of the block,24-15, as middle blocker Ced Domingo sealed the game for the Cool Smashers, 25-15.

In the opening frame, the Cool Smashers got off on the right foot with Carlos and Galanza scoring two-consecutive points via their combination plays, 22-15.

While Molina spiked the ball that went through Creamline's walls to try and regain the momentum, 22-16. 

While a Galanza drop ball put her squad at match point, Gumabao took care of the rest and successfully attacked with a power hit to cap the set as Cignal’s libero couldn’t receive Gumabao’s hit properly.

In the latter half of the second canto, Domingo scored a quick attack orchestrated by setter Jia De Guzman, 19-13, as Galanza followed with a tough straight shot of her own, 21-13.

Cignal added two more points to trim the deficit to 6, 21-15, but Carlos quickly countered with a hit of her own to disrupt the HD Spikers' rhythm, 22-15.

Meanwhile, Galanza once again challenged Cignal's blockers as she scored with a hit off the block to give her team the set point, 24-20, as Gumabao finished the set with another spike off the block.

Gumabao uncorked 14 markers while Galanza and Carlos posted 13 points each.

On the other end, Molina was the only one to score in double-digits with 12 markers while Chay Troncoso chimed in six points.

Edited by Diana Mae Salonoy