Alyssa eyes 3rd-place finish to serve as PVL All-Filipino boost

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Alyssa Valdez (2) hopes Creamline can end their campaign in the PVL Reinforced Conference on a winning note. Richard Esguerra, ABS-CBN Sports

MANILA, Philippines – A first-place finish is already out of the question for Creamline, but the Cool Smashers are still determined to end their maiden campaign in the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) on a high note.

They took a step closer towards that goal after dismissing the Power Smashers, 25-20, 25-18, 25-15, in Game 1 of their best-of-three series for third place in the Reinforced Conference last Saturday.

For Creamline captain Alyssa Valdez, it is vital that the Cool Smashers conclude their Reinforced Conference stint well, especially after their up-and-down campaign in the tournament.

“Ending this with an award or a medal is different from losing a game,” said Valdez, who led the way for Creamline on Saturday with 21 points on 17 attacks, three aces, and a block.

“It’s going to be an inspiration sa amin na maglalaro sa All-Filipino, na kaya namin kapag magkakasama kami [It will be an inspiration for us who will play in the All-Filipino, that we can win if we play together],” she explained. “It’s going to be a confidence-booster for us, and we need that as a new team.”

Creamline struggled for consistency in the Reinforced Conference, especially early on when they played with no imports due to issues with the players’ International Transfer Certificates (ITCs). The entry of imports Kuttika Kaewpin and Laura Schaudt eventually revitalized Creamline, and they made it to the semifinals.

However, they ultimately fell short against top-seeded Bali Pure, with the Water Defenders exposing Creamline’s woes on service reception and floor defense.

Still, Valdez is proud that they made it to the semifinals after such a rough start. She is also grateful that through their third-place series with the Power Smashers, they have another chance to highlight the talents of their imports.

“Noong semifinals talaga, nakita namin ‘yung imports na they really wanted to win, they really wanted to contribute to the team,” she said.

“‘Yun ‘yung kinuhaan namin ng inspiration in today’s game. More than contributing, gusto namin makatulong sa imports para mapakita nila sa fans kung ano talaga ‘yung talent nila,” she added.

[In the semifinals, we saw that the imports really wanted to win and really wanted to contribute to the team. That was our inspiration in today’s game. More than contributing, we wanted to help our imports so they can show the fans how talented they are.]

Kaewpin, a fan favorite for her powerful spikes and leaping ability, had 13 points, all on attacks, while Schaudt had 11 points in Game 1 against the Power Smashers.

They can secure a third-place finish with another win on Tuesday’s Game 2.

“Definitely, it was a rough journey for the team,” Valdez said ahead of the crucial contest. “But it was worth it, kasi magkakasama kami [it was worth it because we were together].”

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