Smashing the Smashers at the semis: KingWhale Taipei

Aug 25, 2022

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KWT won the first set handily, then rallied from a crushing defeat in the second set and a significant deficit in the third to take a 2-1 set lead before wearing down the HD Spikers in the fourth set without star players Bea de Carvalho and Liao Yi-Jen, who only played briefly before head coach Teng Yen-Min rested them in preparation for a grueling match against the Cool Smashers.

KingWhale Taipei prepared for the final by defeating Cignal HD on Saturday with scores of 25-18, 15-25, 25-21, and 25-22. This victory gave them the energy and confidence they needed for their much anticipated rematch with Creamline.

The HD Spikers were defeated by Tsai Qin-rapid Yao’s attack in an hour and 51 minutes, continuing the Taiwanese team’s winning streak even with their backup players. 

Germina Jacobs, who didn’t play much in the KWT’s first three games, came off the bench to score 19 points, including 17 assaults. She was hoping that her performance would earn her a berth in today’s final game. 

De Carvalho and Chang Chih-Hsuan each scored nine points, and Chen Chieh and Wang Yu-Wen chipped in eight each for the Taiwanese team, who also took advantage of a few HD Spikers miscues late in the fourth to seal the victory.

KingWhale has eyes set on Creamline

A straight-set escape and a five-set reversal have pushed KingWhale-Taipei closer to a dream finals appearance – and a nightmare of sorts for two local squads – and the visiting team sets out for a third straight victory and a crack at the Premier Volleyball League Invitational Conference crown.

Last Tuesday at the SM MOA Arena, the Taiwanese startled the PLDT High Speed Hitters in a decisive fifth set rally en route to a 23-25, 25-20, 25-23, 20-25, 15-13 victory.  Following their 26-24, 25-18, 26-24 victory over the Army Lady Troopers on Monday, the victory gave the Taiwanese a strong chance at the second championship spot.

With Creamline as their opponent, KingWhale-Taipei will need to get the most out of its combination of experienced and inexperienced players, lead by powerhouse Bea Carvalho, to pull off an unexpected semifinal run in the league’s midseason conference run by Sports Vision. 

At 4 p.m., the lone game will take place. The Cool Smashers, who benefited from Taiwanese victory over the High Speed Hitters and advanced directly to the finals with a 3-0 card, had high hopes of defeating the visiting team at the Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan. 

Even though Creamline is guaranteed to make it to the finals for the second straight year, coach Sherwin Meneses says the Taiwanese are a very interesting and exciting lot and that he won’t take any chances.

The twin triumphs of KingWhale-Taipei, PLDT’s (2-2) slump, and Cignal’s (1-2) weak performance in the semifinals actually allowed the former three opportunities to advance to the finals. Depending on how well they do against Creamline and Cignal in the tiebreaker, they may still advance to the finals even if they lose their final two games, including tomorrow’s encounter against Cignal. 

Young Lian Yi-Jen and Carvalho, who are both excellent playmakers and hitters, have served as the team’s rock while Wang Yu-Wen, Chen Li-Jun, Chen Chieh, Tsai Qin-Yao, and the others have given them the reliable backing they need to compete against the Cool Smashers.

Tots Carlos, Alyssa Valdez, Jema Galanza, and setter Jia de Guzman are eager to put the Taiwanese to the test, and Meneses will probably try out different lineups with Michelle Gumabao, Celine Domingo, Pangs Panaga, and Risa Sato in an effort to extend their winning streak all the way to the finals, a winner-take-all match on Sunday back at the MOA Arena. 

The winner will also represent the nation at the AVC (Asian Volleyball Confederation) Championship for Women on August 21 at the Philsports Arena in Pasig, along with a few reinforcements.

Live coverage of the Creamline-KingWhale Taipei match will be available on One Sports+ and One Sports (free to air channels 41 and 6 on cable) (Cignal Ch 91 SD, Ch 261 HD). Both channels may be found on Cignal’s OTT platform, Cignal Play, which also offers video on demand.

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