Games Saturday (Batangas City Coliseum)
2 p.m. – PetroGazz vs BanKo-Perlas
4 p.m. – Creamline vs Ateneo-Motolite
Expecting trouble, Creamline instead took an easy route to victory in the opener of the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Open Conference Finals last night, smothering Ateneo-Motolite, 25-17, 25-10, 25-15, to edge closer to a second championship at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan.
While the Cool Smashers virtually played loose and pressure-free, the young Lady Eagles came out stiff and tight throughout in a far cry to the form they showed when they upended the BanKo-Perlas Spikers in sudden death of their Final Four series.
And the Cool Smashers, who swept the PetroGazz Angels in their side of the semis, simply took advantage of their rivals’ tentativeness and poor reception and cruised to the lopsided triumph that moved them in the threshold of another PVL championship after a breakthrough in the Reinforced Conference last July.
Ranged against the likes of former Ateneo stalwarts Alyssa Valdez and Jia Morado and veterans Michelle Gumabao, Risa Sato and Jema Galanza, the Lady Eagles failed to shake off the jitters, groped for form and absorbed a numbing setback to the chagrin of coach Oliver Almadro.
In a desperate bid to ease off the pressure from his wards, the outspoken Ateneo mentor kept on reminding the Lady Eagles to treat the finals as an exhibition match and play as freely as they could – to no avail.
So erratic were the Lady Eagles that the Cool Smashers clinched the third set and the match after a Julianne Samonte service error and Bea de Leon’s net violation.
Creamline shoots for the clincher in Game Two on Saturday at the Batangas City Coliseum.