(Filoil EcoOil Centre)
4 p.m. — KingWhale vs Creamline
While it would rather prefer to get a crack at a second straight championship on its own merits, Creamline is pleased to have moved into the finals of the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Invitational Conference ahead of everybody else.
KingWhale Taiwan made the Cool Smashers’ drive to the championship round simpler after repulsing hard-luck PLDT in a five-set thriller last Tuesday at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
With a 3-0 slate, the Cool Smashers could afford to drop their final match to the Taiwanese Friday back at the Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan and still clinch a spot in the finals even if KingWhale would go on to sweep the five-team semis phase.
PLDT dropped its last two games in heart-breaking fashions — blowing a 2-0 set lead and yielding to the Cool Smashers and squandering a 12-8 bulge in the fifth set and losing to the Taiwanese.
With a 2-2 card, the High Speed Hitters could hope for KingWhale to drop its last two games to Creamline and Cignal (1-2) and force a three-way tie for second at 2-2.
The team with the superior tiebreak score will face Creamline in a winner-take-all match.
PLDT closed out its campaign with 1.027 points ratio, KingWhale has 1.076 with two games left, and Cignal has 0.909 with one more match.
Creamline tests KingWhale’s mettle at 4 p.m. tomorrow as the league takes a two-day break with the final semis pairing pitting Cignal and KingWhale on Saturday, also at 4 p.m. at the San Juan venue. The winner-take-all final is set Sunday at 5:30 p.m. after the 2:30 p.m. clash for third, back at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Whatever, the Cool Smashers are eager and ready to go for another championship.
“Whichever team we would be facing in the finals, we’re excited,” Creamline coach Sherwin Meneses said.
“PLDT and KingWhale have different systems. Though we beat PLDT in the semis, it was a struggle and I know they will be extra motivated if they get to the final.”
He added that they are pumped up to face the Taiwanese in the finals.
“We’ll be facing KingWhale tomorrow and they are very exciting,” he added.
“But it will all depend on our team what kind of game we would play since it’s a winner-take-all final.”
At stake for Creamline isn’t only a second straight championship after sweeping Petro Gazz in the finals of the Open Conference but the right to represent the country in the upcoming AVC Championship for Women starting 21 August at the Philsports Arena in Pasig.
But Meneses isn’t looking beyond the PVL Invitational but is focusing on the task at hand.
“We haven’t thought about that because the PVL isn’t over yet. We are taking things one game at a time,” Meneses said.