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HomeSportCreamline's unusual road to finals ends in same title result

Creamline’s unusual road to finals ends in same title result

Creamline Cool Smashers Jema Galanza PVL Finals Game 2

Creamline’s Jema Galanza and Bernadeth Pons during Game 2 of the PVL All-Filipino Conference Finals.–MARLO CUETO/

MANILA, Philippines — Creamline’s drive for a fourth straight PVL All-Filipino Conference title was surrounded with doubts after falling into unfamiliar territory before working their way to the top of Philippine volleyball once again.

It wasn’t the same dominant perfect title run for Creamline unlike last season as it entered the semifinals as a fourth placer for the first time since it debuted in 2017, losing games to Chery Tiggo, Petro Gazz, and PLDT to finish the elimination round with an 8-3 record—the franchise’s worst in the pros.

The Cool Smashers even lost to their sister team, Choco Mucho Flying Titans, for the first time in 13 meetings to open the semifinal round, falling to the brink of missing the Finals after they blew a two-set lead in a game without Tots Carlos, who attended a tryout in South Korea.

“Minsan gigising kami ng morning training na pag natatalo kami [napapatanong kung] Kaya ba namin ito? Kakayanin pa ba namin? Kasi talagang umabot talaga kami sa point na hindi na kami aabot ng semis, parang hindi na kami aabot ng finals,” said Jema Galanza.

READ: Jema Galanza named PVL Finals MVP in Creamline’s lates title win

Despite the losses that tested the team’s character, Galanza drew strength from Creamline coach Sherwin Meneses, who never stopped reminding them that they are talented individuals and a strong team, and her teammates, for staying motivated amid the challenges.

“Sa lahat ng mga pagsubok at saka sa lahat ng mga pinagdaanan namin, nakikita ko yung mga teammates ko, inoobserve ko sila na wala talagang sumuko, walang nagqquestion sa amin, talagang nagttraining lang kami,” Galanza said. “Si coach Sherwin, siya yung nagiisang tao na hindi nawala yung tiwala sa amin. Lagi niyang sasabihin na, magaling kayo! Kaya niyo yan! Wala kaming negative na narinig sa kanya.”

Jema Galanza Creamline Game 2 PVL Finals

Jema Galanza.–MARLO CUETO/

Carlos returned and joined hands with Galanza, who peaked at the right time in the semis, to win their remaining two matches against Petro Gazz and Chery Tiggo to forge a second finals series against Choco Mucho, which swept the semifinal round.

Galanza emerged as the Finals MVP and tournament’s Best Outside Spiker as Creamline earned its hardest championship yet, needing to fight back with a 20-25, 25-20, 22-25, 25-22, 15-11 win in Game 2 in front of 23,162 fans on Sunday evening at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

READ: Creamline’s depth leads to another PVL crown at expense of Choco Mucho

“Sabi lang namin na ibibigay lang namin lahat at sabi naman ni coach She mananalo kami kapag team kami maglalaro and nakita niyo naman din, hindi lang naman ngayon kahit yung mga past games namin. Nakita niyo na importante bawat isa sa amin,” said Galanza, who averaged 20.0 points in the Finals series.

The 2019 Open Conference MVP couldn’t be even prouder to be a Cool Smasher after overcoming their biggest challenge and more grateful for experiencing this sweet triumph in her volleyball career.

“Proud na proud ako [maging Cool Smasher], hindi lang sa volleyball ako may natututunan, pati sa personal life ko. Sobrang laki talaga ng naitulong sa akin,” she said. “Sobrang happy ako na inintroduce sa akin yung volleyball kasi hindi ko makakasama yung mga ates ko kung hindi ako naglalaro. Happy ako at hindi mawawala sa puso ko yung bawat isa sa amin.”

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After overcoming tough challenges in the first conference of the 2024 season, Galanza believes that they are more ready for bigger obstacles in the upcoming tournaments this year.

“Alam lang namin na sa mga susunod pang mga laban namin, sa mga susunod na championship na kaya naming lumaba. Hindi kami basta basta na lang na maibibigay,” Galanza said. “Ito talaga, pagsubok taalaga samin to. Sinubok talaga kami ng [conference] na ito and sana madami kaming matutunan.”

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