Creamline recovered from a beating in the second set and from being a frame down to survive a grueling five-set encounter with Perlas and win, 25-16, 9-25, 17-25, 25-13, 15-13, Saturday in the Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference quarterfinals opener at 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 final 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 rallied to tie the set at 13-all but Valdez took matters into her own hands, firing back-to-back hits 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, iyon 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 iyong leadership ni Alyssa ang nagdala and, of course, iyong 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 and 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 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 their 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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