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PVL Open: Cool Smashers, Angels seal finals berth

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Creamline took PetroGazz challenge to the heart, matching its recent title tormentor’s sweep of its semifinal rival Saturday by blasting Motolite, 25-18, 25-15, 25-8, at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan to seal a second straight face-off for the Premier Volleyball League diadem.

The Creamline Cool Smashers celebrate their victory over Motolite for another crack at the PVL crown. (Sports Vision Images)

The Creamline Cool Smashers celebrate their victory over Motolite for another crack at the PVL crown. (Sports Vision Images)

Unlike in their Game One victory where they had to shake off a mediocre start to repulse the Motolite side, 18-25, 25-14, 25-21, 25-14, Saturday, the Cool Smashers stamped their class early then simply outclassed their hapless rivals in the last two frames to complete their sweep of their best-of-three series.

Alyssa Valdez, Jema Galanza and Michele Gumabao played true to form in offense while Jia Morado kept the team’s scoring options open with her superb playmaking skills that left Motolite’s defense guessing majority of the way.

The victory was Creamline’s 18th straight, counting its sweep of the double-round elims, and moved the Cool Smashers to a fourth straight finals and two wins away from completing a grand sweep of the Open Conference.

But PetroGazz, which rallied from a game down and stunned Creamline in the next two to snare the Reinforced Conference title, earlier primed up for its highly anticipated title rematch with Creamline by sweeping BanKo-Perlas in their side of the semis playoff.

The PetroGazz Angels celebrate their victory over the BanKo-Perlas Spikers for another crack at the PVL crown. (PVL Images)

The PetroGazz Angels celebrate their victory over the BanKo-Perlas Spikers (PVL Images)

Sustaining their hot form hours after beating the Perlas Spikers in the series opener, 25-22, 25-15, 25-20, late Saturday, the Angels survived their rivals’ tough stand in the opening frame then imposed their will and power in the next two to fashion out a 28-26, 25-17, 25-17 victory.

Game One of the Finals is set Nov. 6, also at the San Juan arena with BanKo-Perlas and Motolite disputing third place honors in another best-of-three series.

Jovielyn Prado unleashed a 13-hit game, including 11 attack points, and spiked her superb all-around performance with 14 excellent receptions and 11 digs while Paneng Mercado and the crisp-hitting Jonah Sabete combined for 21 markers.

But more than gaining a rare crack for a season sweep, the Angels relished the thoughts of going to the finals without the help of their talented imports in the Reinforced.

“We have overcome that challenge, that is, making the finals by ourselves,” said PetroGazz coach Arnold Laniog, who also cited his wards’ hard work and commitment.

“We have to stay committed and that would only make our goal a lot easier,” he added.

Cherry Nunag added nine markers while Jeanette Panaga finished with seven points for the Angels, who also cashed in on their rivals’ miscues to score 21 points off errors.

Nicole Tiamzon and Dzi Gervacio led BanKo with 15 and 14 points, respectively.

The Perlas Spikers, with Gervacio presiding their attack, slugged it out with the Angels spike-for-spike and block-for-block in the first set, forcing the last deadlock at 26 as Panaga scored on a hit and the Angels went one-set up on a BanKo-Perlas setting miscue.

The Reinforced titlists then made sure to avoid going through another wringer, posting a 19-15 in the second frame before Nunag came through with back-to-back kills to key a closing 6-2 run.

It was more of the same in the third with the Angels racing to a 23-14 bulge to cruise to victory and into another finals appearance in the league backed by Mikasa, Asics and KFC.

— end it//thanks

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