Defending champion Creamline rallied from a set down to beat Galeries Tower, 19-25, 25-16, 25-14, 25-13, and complete an elimination round sweep of the Premier Volleyball League All-Filipino Conference yesterday at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City.
Wingers Jema Galanza and Bernadeth Pons led the Cool Smashers to their 11th win in as many games to secure the top seeding in the semifinals.
Creamline will square off with No. 4 seed Chery Tiggo in the best-of-three semis starting Thursday at the same venue.
“I would like to congratulate my players for fishing the elimination round with an 11-0 (record). But of course, our goal is beyond the eliminations so on Thursday we’ll work harder,” Cool Smashers coach Sherwin Meneses said.
Meanwhile, Cignal completed the semis cast after storming past winless Gerflor, 25-22, 25-11, 25-10, to set up a showdown against No. 2 seed Choco Mucho in the next round.
The HD Spikers brushed off an early rust from more than a week of layoff before taking care of business to advance to the next round as the no. 3 seed.
Cignal tied Chery Tiggo with an 8-3 win-loss record but took the higher seeding due to better match points earned, 25-22.
Ces Molina and Gen Casugod led the HD Spikers with nine points each while Vanie Gandler and Jovelyn Gonzaga had eight and seven markers, respectively, in the 78-minute volleyball clinic.
The Defenders finished winless in 11 games and 0-16 overall since joining the league in the mid-season Invitational Conference.
Meneses tweaked his starting lineup in the opening set but backfired as the Highrisers, fresh from a come-from-behind five-set win over Gerflor last Thursday, pounced on every opportunity to score.
But Creamline was quick to recover as it cruised in the next three frames despite sitting out skipper Alyssa Valdez for a much-deserved rest heading into the next round.
Galanza scored 11 of her 12 points on attacks while Pons punched in 10 markers including nine kills for the Cool Smashers. Tots Carlos, Pangs Panaga and Rose Vargas all added eight markers each while setter Kyle Negrito dished out 17 excellent sets.
Galeries Tower finished its league debut with a 1-10 slate at 11th spot.
Roma Joy Doromal was the only Highriser in double figures with 13 points including 11 kills. Ysa Jimenes and Raprap Aguilar chipped in with five each for Galeries Tower, which looked poised to score a major upset only to get crushed in the end.