Creamline, Choco Mucho smother badly-outclassed foes – rezal404

Ced Domingo (No.13) and the Cool Smashers dismantle Gerflflor's defense—PHOTO BY AUGUST DELA CRUZ

Ced Domingo (No. 13) and the Cool Smashers dismantle Gerflor’s defense—PHOTO BY AUGUST DELA CRUZ

Alyssa Valdez celebrated her 30th birthday with a performance that announced her slow but sure return to form, and with Creamline to have a 13-day break after sewing up a second straight victory in the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Invitational Conference, the Cool Smashers and their team leader can afford some celebration.

“I have a game most of my [past] birthdays and it’s always a reminder to me why I’m playing and why I’m here,” Valdez said in Filipino, shortly after scoring four points in the first two sets of Creamline’s 25-18, 25-11, 25-12 ripping of newcomer Gerflor at FilOil EcoOil Center in San Juan City as the Cool Smashers moved within another win of the semifinals.

“It’s because of the volleyball fans and the volleyball community and my teammates and all my teams. It’s a great way to celebrate my birthday all the time.”

Touted, as usual, as the team to beat, the Cool Smashers wasted little time in dispatching off the Defenders, who really couldn’t live up to their moniker in the face of the relentless attacking game of Creamline.

“We had a slow start but I’m glad we were able to recover. All the players contributed. We’re happy because we still got the win,” said Creamline coach Sherwin Meneses in Filipino.

Opposite spiker Tots Carlos sustained her fine play with a game-high 15 points on an efficient 13-of-19 attacking clip, while Jema Galanza chipped in 10 points spiked by two aces, and Ced Domingo added eight points highlighted by a team-high three blocks.

PLDT is next

“It’s a total team effort,” said Valdez. “We prepared for this back-to-back games and we really worked hard and paid it off. But it’s just the beginning of the conference [and] every game counts. So, hopefully it’s a confidence-booster for everyone looking forward to our next game.”

That next game won’t be until July 13 when the Cool Smashers battle the PLDT High Speed ​​Hitters at PhilSports Arena in Pasig City.

Sizzling back

Meanwhile, a familiar face sizzled for Choco Mucho in the second game as Sisi Rondina returned from a four-year indoor hiatus and led the Flying Titans in a 25-14, 25-7, 25-16 rout of Farm Fresh.

After being away and concentrating on beach volleyball, Rondina again established herself as a force in her PVL debut with 14 points built on 13 attacks as Choco Mucho debuted in style in Pool B.

“Right in her first game, she showed her energy and brave character inside the court,” coach Dante Alinsunurin said of the former Santo Tomas Tigress. “Her aggressiveness also inspired her teammates which led to their collective effort. She may not be that vocal but her actions lead the team.”

Setter Deanna Wong also shone with eight points built around five aces and two blocks and had eight excellent sets, showing a good connection with fellow Cebu native Rondina.

Kat Tolentino only played in the third set and scored two points as the Choco Mucho coach said she is still working her way to her top shape after representing the country in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games. But Caitlyn Viray stepped up and backed up her University of Santo Tomas teammate Rondina with 13 points, while Cherry Nunag and Des Cheng added six points each.

“Good game for our team because our service-receive went well every set. I hope we can sustain this for our next games,” Alinsunurin said.

Choco Mucho takes on another new team, Foton, on Saturday at 4 pm

No one from the Foxies scored in double figures with Trisha Tubu leading the charge with seven points, as their previous top scorer Gayle Pascual was limited to just a point.

Farm Fresh dropped to 0-2 in Pool B before taking a break as its next match is scheduled on July 11 against Petro Gazz at PhilSports Arena.

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