by Kristel Satumbaga
Games Wednesday (Mall of Asia Arena)
10 a.m. – PLDT vs Vice Co. (m)
1:45 p.m. – Pocari-Air Force vs BanKo-Perlas (w)
3:45 p.m. – Creamline vs PayMaya (w)
6 p.m. – Air Force vs Cignal (m)
Creamline inched closer to the 2018 Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference crown after it walloped PayMaya, 25-21, 22-25, 25-20, 25-19, last night at the start of their best-of-three finals at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
The Cool Smashers survived the High Flyers’ offensive challenge anchored on Tess Rountree and Grethcel Soltones to take the opener.
Thai import Kuttika Kaewpin led Creamline with 19 points built on 15 kills, two blocks and two aces while Alyssa Valdez added 18 points including the sharp spike that sealed the match.
Laura Schaudt contributed 13 points even as Michele Gumabao added eight points.
Valdez credited their grueling three-game semifinal series with Pocari Sweat-Air Force which boosted their confidence going to the finals.
“I think we have more energy towards the end of the game, but we know PayMaya will never back down,” said Valdez.
The Smashers bested the High Flyers in attacks (51-48) and blocks (12-5).
The High Flyers were led by Rountree’s 26 points and Soltones’ 11.
Game 2 is on Wednesday at the same venue with Creamline eyeing its first title since joining the league last year.
Meanwhile, Pocari Sweat-Air Force kept survived BanKo-Perlas, 25-22, 17-25, 16-25, 26-24, 15-11, to take Game 1 of their best-of-three affair for third place.
Madeline Palmer and Arielle Love steered the Lady Jet Spikers, who rode on the momentum of their tough fourth-set victory en route to the deciding fifth frame as well as the win.
The win provided a bit of comfort for Pocari after getting dethroned on Wednesday by Creamline.
“We were more shell-shocked of our situation the last time but it’s definitely different now. We’re a lot more aggressive and we tried not to think too much,” said Palmer, referring to the sudden absence of teammate Myla Pablo the last time after hurting her lower back during the warmup.
Palmer paced the Lady Jet Spikers with 24 points built on 22 kills and two aces.
Love also shone for the Lady Jet Spikers with 17 points.