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Kurashiki enters PVL final


‘Against Creamline, we’ll just do our best.’

Asaka Tamaru shines anew as Japanese guest club Kurashima Ablaze sets up a gold medal showdown against defending champion Creamline. | PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF PVL

Games today:

(PhilSports Arena)

4 p.m. — F2 Logistics vs Kinh Bac-Bac Ninh

6:30 p.m. — Kurashiki Ablaze vs Creamline


Japanese club Kurashiki Ablaze advanced to the championship round after eliminating PLDT, 25-15, 23-25, 25-14, 25-23, in the penultimate semifinals playdate of the Premier Volleyball League Invitational Conference yesterday at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City.

Asaka Tamaru once again powered the guest squad to its fourth straight win in as many games to forge a title showdown against unbeaten defending champion Creamline.

The winner-take-all gold medal match is set Sunday afternoon.

Kurashiki and Creamline will provide a preview of their championship clash today at 6:30 p.m. at the close of the semis.

Tamaru uncorked 28 of her game-high 30 points off kills to lead the Ablaze, who rained down 69 spikes in the almost two-hour encounter.

Saki Tanabe added 15 points and 12 digs for Kurashiki while Akane Hiraoka got 11 points including the game-clinching kill to finish off the High Speed Hitters.

“PLDT is a strong team. I felt we might lose this match but it’s great that we’re able to get the win,” Ablaze coach Hideo Suzuki said through a translator.

“Against Creamline, we’ll just do our best.”

Yukino Yano had 23 digs and 13 excellent receptions while skipper Kyoka Ohshima tallied 19 excellent sets for Kurashiki.

PLDT threatened to force a fifth set, coming back from a 9-17 deficit with a scorching run to close the gap, 22-23, after Yukino Yano committed an attack error.

Tanabe pushed the Ablaze at match point in the next play. Mean Mendrez scored off a kill for PLDT to save a match point before Hiraoka hammered the finishing blow.

Honey Royse Tubino had 23 points, Fiola Ceballos scored 15 while Mika Reyes and Michelle Morente registered nine each for the High Speed Hitters, who capped their semis campaign with a 2-3 win-loss slate.

PLDT can still vie for a podium spot but will still depend on the results of other semis pairings.

Meanwhile, luckless F2 Logistics battles Vietnamese club Kinh Bac-Bac Ninh at 4 p.m. in the curtain-raiser.

The Cargo Movers dropped its first three games in the semis for a 1-3 carryover slate.

F2 Logistics, however, can still vie for a podium finish if it hurdles Kinh Bac-Bac Ninh.

But claiming a victory over the Vietnamese, who are playing also-ran Cignal as of press time, will be an uphill climb for the Cargo Movers with starting opposite spiker Kim Kianna Dy out due to a right knee injury.

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