Games Saturday (Batangas City Coliseum)
2 p.m. – PetroGazz vs BanKo-Perlas
4 p.m. – Creamline vs Ateneo-Motolite
Reduced to a mere collegiate squad by a powerhouse Creamline side, Ateneo-Motolite tries to pick itself up from a devastating Game One loss with a new mindset and approach against the fired-up Cool Smashers in tomorrow’s Game Two of the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Open Conference Finals in Batangas City.
The Cool Smashers turned what was expected to be a fierce battle into a virtual workout, dominating the Lady Eagles in all departments to complete a lopsided 25-17, 25-10, 25-15 victory that moved the former closer to another title run following their sweep of the Reinforced Conference crown last July.
The Lady Eagles, who stirred up interest after upending the BanKo-Perlas Spikers in five sets of their sudden death in the Final Four, played tight and stiff all throughout, resulting to tentative, erratic plays and enabling the Cool Smashers to run away with the victory.
In fact, the league’s top blocking team in the elims which boasts of a triple tower combo in Maddie Madayag, Kat Tolentino and Bea de Leon could only come up with a solitary block against four by the Cool Smashers, who also expectedly lorded it over in attacks, 41-22, and service with 11 aces against their rivals’ four.
Creamline also produced 45 excellent digs, including 10 each from Michelle Gumabao and Kyla Atienza, 13 more than Ateneo, and scored four more points off its rival’s errors to complete their convincing triumph.
But while the Lady Eagles are eager and expected to bounce back strong in Game Two, the Cool Smashers are also going all out to finish off their rivals and avoid going through a Game Three set on back-to-back game days.
Game Two is set at 4 p.m. at the Batangas City Coliseum where Creamline’s star player Alyssa Valdez hails, making it doubly difficult for the Lady Eagles to hurdle their fancied rivals on a hostile turf.
But a reversal could give Ateneo-Motolite some kind of a push in its title bid as Game Three will be played on Sunday back at the San Juan venue where playing back-to-back games could favor the young, energetic Lady Eagles.
To force a winner-take-all match, Madayag, Tolentino and De Leon must impose their will on the net both on offense and defense and the Lady Eagles must draw hustle plays from Ponggay Gaston, Vanessa Gandler, Julianne Samonte, Dani Ravena and Kim Gequillana.
Ateneo coach Oliver Almadro also had a lot of motivating to do after failing to have his aces get untracked in Game One with De Leon emerging the top scorer with seven hits and Tolentino and Madayag chipping in six markers each.