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Creamline ramps up bid

Games today:
(Philsports Arena)
2:30 p.m. — Army vs F2 Logistics
5:30 p.m. — Creamline
vs Petro Gazz

Creamline and Petro Gazz rekindle their rivalry in a duel where a share of the early lead is at stake in the Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City on Tuesday.

Hurdling their opening day foes, the two squads put their clean slates on the line in a rematch of the 2019 import-laden conference Finals in the scheduled 5:30 p.m. encounter following the 2:30 p.m. curtain-raiser between winless Army and F2 Logistics.

The Cool Smashers beat PLDT, 25-22, 25-18, 26-28, 25-22, last Thursday to set their grand slam bid in motion.

Creamline saw the return of Alyssa Valdez after recovering from dengue as she displayed her vintage form with 17 points, 13 digs, and 13 excellent receptions.

Celine Domingo, the Invitational Conference Finals Most Valuable Player, Turkish import Yeliz Basa, and Jema Galanza all scored in double digits for the Cool Smashers, who are equipped with a couple of international exposures following stints in the Asian Cup for Women and the ASEAN Grand Prix.

“Creamline holds a big gap compared to other teams with their international experience and with a strong import to back them up,” Angels coach Rald Ricafort said.

Petro Gazz swept Choco Mucho, 27-25, 25-22, 28-26, last week with American import Lindsey Vander Weide dropping 25 points and getting ample support from locals Jonah Sabete, Myla Pablo and MJ Phillips.

“I guess we’re just lucky we have Lindsey to fill the outside position that we lacked in the previous conference,” Ricafort said.

Creamline coach Sherwin Meneses said taking on a loaded Angels side will be a big test.

“They are a good team as we saw in their first game. Petro Gazz has improved a lot in their fast-paced plays,” Meneses, who expects to see two-time MVP Tots Carlos back in action after missing their first game to rest, said.

The Angels back in 2019 defeated the Cool Smashers in a dramatic best-of-three series comeback behind then imports American import Janisa Johnson and Cuban Wilma Salas.

Facing Creamline for the first time, Vander Weide couldn’t wait to be a part of the storied rivalry.

“I like playing against good teams. I think I play better playing against tough competition,” the American said.

Meanwhile, the Cargo Movers and Lady Troopers look to arrest their two-game skids.

F2 Logistics suffered a 23-25, 21-25, 22-25, loss to league-leading Chery Tiggo and Choco Mucho, 21-25, 25-22, 20-25, 24-26.

“We can’t just take these losses lightly,” Cargo Movers American import Lindsay Stalzer, who skipped their first game due to health and safety protocols, said.

“We need to make an effort to improve in the coming weeks ‘cos it’s urgent. We need to get those wins.”

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