Wednesday, May 29, 2024
HomeSportWith star scorer back, Creamline resuscitates title defense bid

With star scorer back, Creamline resuscitates title defense bid

Creamline Cool Smashers' Tots Carlos in the PVL All-Filipino semifinals

Creamline Cool Smashers’ Tots Carlos in the PVL All-Filipino semifinals. –MARLO CUETO/

Tots Carlos had the blessing of Creamline when she tried her luck in the Korean V-League Draft and even if the Cool Smashers absorbed their fourth loss this All-Filipino Conference during her absence, the defending champions only had support for her. And since her plan of playing internationally didn’t pan out, Carlos returned just in time to backstop Creamline in the Premier Volleyball League semifinals.

“It was my choice to go there and I am grateful to the management for letting me grab that opportunity,” Carlos said after delivering the goods in the must-win playdate. “I am grateful to our coaches and my teammates who I didn’t hear say anything negative even if I missed a game.”

Coming from a first-ever loss to Choco Mucho to open its playoff campaign, the Cool Smashers vented their ire on Petro Gazz, 27-25, 23-25, 27-25, 26-24, on Thursday to fan their title-retention bid.

Carlos showed her gratitude to her team by pouring in 21 points from 17 kills, three blocks and an ace after her presence was missed by Creamline, who still had plenty of offense left even without Carlos in the last game.

Flying Titans score

The Cool Smashers improved to a 1-1 card in the semifinals and took second spot over Petro Gazz via points despite sharing the same record with the Angels. Choco Mucho (2-0) held on to the lead after turning back Chery Tiggo in the later game, 25-20, 25-19, 25-23, behind the duo of Sisi Rondina and Royse Tubino.

“It was my choice to be there so even if the coaches didn’t say anything, I knew they expected me to really play today and deliver,” said Carlos, who planed in at 1:30 a.m. on Thursday. “I am just happy that even if I came from [South Korea], they let me play and they never lost their trust in me,” she said. “I am happy to be surrounded by that kind of people.”

Jema Galanza was still a force to be reckoned with after leading Creamline again with 23 points from 20 attacks, two blocks and an ace. Galanza also added 16 excellent digs and 14 excellent receptions.

Pangs Panaga was solid in the middle and contributed 11 points while Alyssa Valdez finished with 10 points thanks in part to Kyle Negrito’s 26 excellent sets.“I am happy that we were able to fight it out,” Galanza said in Filipino after surviving the gritty Angels, who dealt them a beating in the elimination round. “There were parts of the game when we were thinking: ‘Can we still endure this? Can we keep up? Will we win today?’”

“We just recalled all our struggles in this conference and the people who were doubting us. But these people in front of you, we never lost our trust in each other,” she added. Creamline’s Finals bid will go through Chery Tiggo again on Sunday. The Crossovers were responsible for ending the 19-game win streak of the Cool Smashers when they met in Laguna province for their preliminary matchup.

“The events that happened in the past days haven’t sunk in on me yet: We lost to Choco Mucho then I was in Korea then we had a game today so my mindset was just one thing at a time,” Carlos said. “I just [wanted to] deal with what’s in front of me first.”

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