Creamline moved a step closer for a semifinals spot.
Creamline recovered from a terrible beating in the second set and from a frame down to survive a grueling five-set encounter with Perlas, 25-16, 9-25, 17-25, 25-13, 15-13, Saturday in the inaugural Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference quarterfinals opener at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
The Cool Smashers captured their first back-to-back wins in the tournament making a repeat of their end of preliminary round victory against the Spikers last Thursday to move a step closer to clinching a spot in the best-of-three semifinals.
Alyssa Valdez, Thai import Kuttika Kaewpin and American reinforcement Laura Schaudt teamed up in the fifth set as Creamline opened with a 7-3 cushion.
Perlas fired a scorching counterattack to tie the set at 13 but Valdez took matters in her own hands, hitting back-to-back missiles that went off the hands of former Ateneo de Manila teammate and Perlas libero Ella De Jesus to seal the victory.
“First of all we just believed that we can win, ‘yun lang. Instructions lang namin sa 13-all just smile and believe that you can win,” said Creamline assistant coach Oliver Almadro.
“Perlas really played well also, they prepared for us, but ‘yung leadership ni Alyssa ang nagdala and of course ‘yung guts ni Alex (Cabanos), down na siya the previous sets pero she just kept on setting,” he added. “Ang sabi ko sa kanya tiwala lang sa sarili ang buo dapat ang loob and she responded naman.”
Valdez led the Cool Smashers with 21 points coming off 17 spikes, three aces and a kill block while Kaewpin finished with 19 including 18 attacks. Schaudt had nine markers.
After a hot start, Creamline went cold in the second set as the Cool Smashers watched Perlas roll to a 14-0 finishing kick in the frame after a tight 11-9 advantage.
Creamline will take on another quarters opening day winner Pocari Sweat on Tuesday before closing the round on Thursday against Philippine Air Force. BaliPure and the Power Smashers are already in the semis after topping the prelims.
The Spikers absorbed its third straight defeat.
Brazilian import Rupia Inck had 19 points, Kathy Bersola scored 13 while skipper Dzi Gervacio returned to action after skipping their last game because of a fever and scored 10.
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