Games Saturday (Batangas City Coliseum)
2 p.m. – PetroGazz vs BanKo-Perlas
4 p.m. – Creamline vs Ateneo-Motolite
Creamline can’t wait to wrap it all up on Saturday, eager to ride not only on the momentum of its lopsided Game One victory but also on the proverbial “seventh man” expected to come in full force and cheer the Cool Smashers’ impending march to the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Open Conference championship.
Ateneo-Motolite has vowed to make up for its lackluster showing that led to a stinging 17-25, 10-25, 15-25 defeat in the opener of their best-of-three series at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan Wednesday. But from the looks of things, even the best of the Lady Eagles could be no match to the fired-up Cool Smashers out to re-stamp their class over their youthful rivals at the Batangas City Coliseum.
For one, Creamline star Alyssa Valdez wants to clinch another PVL championship in front of her provincemates, who have stood by her since she broke into the volley scene as a young high school star at UST before moving over to Ateneo in college.
“This is a rare opportunity for me. Not only that I’ll play inspired but I think it’s also one way of giving back to Batangas,” said Valdez, who hails from San Juan. “It’s also a big factor that we have the so-called ‘seventh man’ who will cheer for us no matter what.”
Gametime is at 4 p.m. with Valdez also expected to collect another MVP trophy for another superb performance in the season ending conference of the league organized by Sports Vision.
The league will fete the conference’s top players in brief rites before Game Two of the Finals and after the 2 p.m. duel for third place where BanKo-Perlas also seeks to make it two-in-row over PetroGazz.
The Cool Smashers pounced on the listless Lady Eagles to complete the Game One rout that moved the former closer to another title run following their sweep of the Reinforced Conference crown last July.
Ace setter Jia Morado’s familiarity with Ateneo-Motolite’s defensive sets also made it a lot easier for the Cool Smashers to fashion out the easy win as the former Lady Eagles’ playmaker gave Creamline’s vaunted offense a different look while keeping the other side’s net defenders guessing with her wily ball distribution.
“By involving all our spikers, we make our offense a lot more unpredictable,” said Morado, who produced 23 excellent sets that helped draw 14 hits from Valdez, 12 markers from Michelle Gumabao and a combined 17-hit game from Jema Galanza and Risa Sato.
But Ateneo coach Oliver Almadro expects a different crew to show up and give the Cool Smashers the challenge they posed after upending the Perlas Spikers in their side of the Final Four.
“My players will really do their best and will never ever give up,” said Almadro. “What’s important for us is that we are learning our lesson this time.”
The Cool Smashers, however, are only too willing to conduct another clinic for the young Lady Eagles.