By Waylon Galvez
(The Arena, San Juan)
4 p.m. – BanKo-Perlas vs Motolite (3rd Place)
6 p.m. – Creamline vs PetroGazz (Finals, Game 2)
Defending champion Creamline moved within one victory of sweeping the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference after defeating PetroGazz 25-14, 25-22, 27-25 in the opener of the best-of-three title series Wednesday night at The Arena in San Juan.
Alyssa Valdez scored 19 points, including two aces, while Jema Galanza, Michele Gumabao and Jia Morado provided the support that allowed Creamline to close in on avenging its finals defeat to the same team in the Reinforced Conference.
Galanza contributed 15 points with 10 digs, while Gumabao added 10 hits, and Morado finished with 21 excellent sets.
Creamline’s triumph extended its unbeaten slate to 19 matches which started with a 16-game sweep of the double-round eliminations followed by two victories over Motolite in the semifinals.
Valdez, who missed a total of five games due to an ankle injury and her stint with the national team preparing for the 30th Southeast Asian Games here, credited it to team effort that won the game.
“My mindset is to really give my all, given the sacrifices of my teammates who continued to keep on fighting,” said Valdez.
Creamline guns for the title when it plays reigning Reinforced Conference champion PetroGazz in Game 2 on Saturday at the same venue.
The Angels, who swept the BanKo-Perlas Spikers in the other semifinal pairing, took a 15-9 lead in the second set. But Galanza scored six straight points to power Creamline’s comeback as they grabbed a 2-0 lead.
In the third set, the Cool Smashers failed to finish off the Angels after going up, 23-22, but saved a set point at 23-24 on a Jeanette Panaga service error before Galanza fired away an easy hit off a PetroGazz reception miscue.
After Cai Baloaloa tied it again at 25, the Cool Smashers moved at match point on a Baloaloa service miscue. Galanza clinched it with a power hit after being foiled twice by the PetroGazz defense.
Earlier, BanKo-Perlas foiled Motolite with a 25-23, 25-23, 25-18 victory in the battle for third place.