MANILA, Philippines – As Chery Tiggo and Petro Gazz attempt to avoid elimination in the Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference at the Smart Araneta Coliseum today (Sunday), a strong Creamline squad and a resurgent Cignal team set out for a key battle for a clean chance at a championship spot.
At the beginning of the round robin semi finals on Thursday, the Cool Smashers, and the HD Spikers each defeated the Petro Gazz Angels and the Chery Tiggo Crossovers in straight sets, setting up their 2:30 p.m. face-off in the season-ending conference hosted by Sports Vision that was so important to each team’s quest for the championship.
Creamline does have a tiny advantage in terms of manpower, teamwork, and championship experience with the Cool Smashers, who are in peak shape and poised for a record grand slam after winning both the Open Conference and Invitational titles.
Although the HD Spikers must surpass themselves to defeat their favored competitors, Cignal is so determined to establish itself as not just a worthy title contender but also a merited champion.
In the Invitational preliminary round on July 21 in Sta. Cignal defeated Creamline, 3 to 1. Rosa, Laguna lost to the Cool Smashers in the semifinals last August 8 at the MOA Arena, but they defeated them with a score of 3 to0 en route to winning the second of their two championships.
However, what makes the audience favorites more intimidating going into today’s crucial match is the fact that they are coming off their first three-set triumph after a virtual fight in the preliminary rounds where they were forced into four-set duels in seven matches, including a 25 to 18, 22 to 25, 25 to 22, 25 to 12 victories over the HD Spikers last October 22.
Ironically, they won the first two sets before losing a five-set match to the F2 Logistics on November 8.
But since that misstep, the Cool Smashers have bounced back, and their rout of the winners of the 2019 title more than proved that they are ready to rule this stage and take a shot at a fantasy grand slam.
It will still rely on how we do against them, according to coach Sherwin Meneses, who has chosen to downplay his team’s strength and possibilities.
But locals Alyssa Valdez, Tots Carlos, Jema Galanza, Ced Domingo, Pangs Pineda, Kyla Atienza, and playmaker Jia de Guzman, as well as import Yeliz Basa, have been executing their plays with surgical perfection, while Michele Gumabao, Fille Cayetano, Rose Vargas, and Kyla Negrito have regularly performed off the bench.
The No. 4 HD Spikers, on the other hand, have matched the top-ranked Cool Smashers’ three-game winning streak thanks to Tai Bierria finally showing off her tough form, locals Ces Molina, Rachel Anne Daquis, Roselyn Doria, Angeli Araneta, Riri Meneses, Chay Troncoso, Faith General, and pace setter Gel Cayuna, who have backed up their import just like they did when they defeated them.
At 5:30 p.m., a knockout match between Petro Gazz and Chery Tiggo is scheduled to begin. in which the victor advances to the finals by overtaking the loser in the Creamline-Cignal contest.
The last semi-final matchups are on Tuesday at the Philsports Arena in Pasig, and they feature Creamline vs. Chery Tiggo and Cignal vs. Petro Gazz.