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Creamline loses Alyssa, claims bronze

Creamline salvaged a podium finish after bagging the bronze medal with a 25-15, 25-19, 23-25, 25-21, Game 2 win over Chery Tiggo to complete a best-of-three battle for third series sweep in the Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference yesterday at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City.

The Cool Smashers made sure that they won’t finish the season-ending tournament empty-handed as they hurdled the Crossovers but not without sarificing skipper Alyssa Valdez who hurt her right knee while trying to dig for the ball early in the third set.

Valdez, who banged her knee hard on the floor with her team up 6-3, remained on the bench until the end of the match.

She was able to walk back with some help to the dugout with an immobilizer strapped to her right leg. Valdez was then taken to the Makati Medical Center to undergo an MRI.

The rest of the Creamline crew took care of the rest for the club’s first bronze since 2017 and 10th straight podium finish.

Tots Carlos led the way with 19 points built on 17 attacks and two aces while Jema Galanza scored all but one of her 16 points on kills and added 12 digs for the Cool Smashers, who sat out Turkish import Yeliz Basa for an undisclosed illness.

“Of course we’re happy. We’re happy we ended our campaign this year with a bronze medal. So we’re happy about that,” Cool Smashers coach Sherwin Meneses, whose squad took the series opener, 25-22, 22-25, 25-5, 25-19, last Thursday, said.

Jeanette Panaga finished with 14 points, Ced Domingo added 12 points while Valdez had 10 to close Creamline’s campaign.

Prized setter Jia de Guzman tallied 26 excellent sets that set up the Cool Smashers in blasting 67 attack points.

Meanwhile, Mylene Paat of Chery Tiggo was named Most Valuable Player and Best Opposite Spiker during the presentation of individual awards.

Valdez and Myla Pablo of Petro Gazz were the Best Outside Hitters, De Guzman took her seventh Best Setter award while Crossovers defense specialist Buding Duremdes got the Best Libero recognition.

MJ Phillips of Petro Gazz and Roselyn Doria of Cignal were named Best Middle Blockers while Angels’ American reinforcement Lindsey Vander Weide got the Best Import award.

The Crossovers threatened to take the game to a fifth set as they built a 9-4 lead only to see the Cool Smashers overtake them midway through the frame with an 11-2 run for a 24-19 lead. Chery Tiggo saved two match points before Galanza put the game away with a down-the-line kill.

Chery Tiggo refused to go down without a fight, sparking a comeback late in the third frame. Down, 19-21, the Crossovers got a little help from the Cool Smashers’ crucial errors including an attack miscue by Galanza that tied it at 23.

Montenegrin import Jelena Cvijovic pushed Chery Tiggo at set point advantage before Paat sealed the come-from-behind victory with a kill.

The Cool Smashers broke a 16-16 deadlock in the second frame with five straight points highlighted by back-to-back aces as they created a comfortable cushion to keep the Crossovers at bay.

Paat had 19 points, Cvijovic got 13 markers while EJ Laure and Czarina Carandang scored 11 and 10 points, respectively, for the Crossovers.

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