By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
The Creamline Cool Smashers didn’t disappoint in their first playoff game of the conference and took down the Army-Black Mamba in four sets, 25-21, 23-25, 25-19, 25-17, during the 2022 Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Invitational conference semifinals.
Carrying a two-game winning streak heading into their semis clash against Army, the Cool Smashers kicked off the duel with sharp offensive executions generated through their wonderful timing in their sets.
Tots Carlos showed why she is the reigning Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the league and dropped a scintillating 24-point performance built from 21 successful attacks.
Aside from her offensive showcase, the hard-hitting Carlos also tallied 19 excellent digs and was a crucial factor in their floor defense.
However, when Creamline started to roll after a momentum-clinching first set, the Black Mamba responded with a much-needed sense of urgency and clawed back in the second set after trailing 19-22.
The duo of Jovelyn “The Bionic Ilongga” Gonzaga and Audrey Paran came up big for Army and uncorked a clutch offensive run that equalized the match at one set apiece.
Creamline was quick to go back to the drawing board and reverted to their first set groove as Carlos started another hitting party that helped the Cool Smashers regain their touch.
Backstopping Carlos in the offensive department in the last two sets was opposite hitter Jema Galanza who chipped in 12 points and 14 excellent digs in the win.
After the Carlos-Galanza one-two punch clicked for the Cool Smashers, Army failed to recover in the last two sets and also lacked the firepower they displayed in the second period.
“Yung team naman naka-recover doon sa nakuhang set ng Army kasi syempre yung Army hindi rin naman magpapatalo,” said Creamline head coach Sherwin Meneses.