Creamline displays same ruthless efficiency to remain undefeated

Creamline Cool Smashers' Michele Gumabao. –PVL PHOTO

Creamline Cool Smashers’ Michele Gumabao. –PVL PHOTO

Continuing to show no ill effects of two standouts of its nucleus departing to play abroad, Creamline on Thursday massacred Gerflor, 25-15, 25-12, 25-10, with coach Sherwin Meneses still able to clear his bench in a bid to get the others ready for fiercer Premier Volleyball League (PVL) All-Filipino Cup battles that lie ahead.

“Our relievers have been practicing very well, that’s why they also deserve to get the playing time,” Meneses said in Filipino after the win carved out in just 74 minutes. “The opportunity to play is very important, and my bench players can also play as starters. It’s a good problem for us coaches, but we need consistency to deliver well in every game.”

Creamline is still playing with the same workmanlike efficiency it displayed in winning six championships thus far, even with ace setter Jia de Guzman going to Japan and middle blocker Ced Domingo recently taking her act to play as an import in the tough Thailand league.

De Guzman is set to debut with Denso Airybees in the Japan V.League next week, while Domingo, the two-time PVL Best Middle Blocker, will be suiting up in Nakhon Ratchasima’s title-defense in the Volleyball Thailand League and join former Creamline coach Tai Bundit.

Best start

Meanwhile, Akari zoomed to the best start in its PVL life after surviving Farm Fresh, 21-25, 26-24, 25-15, 25-21, for a 3-1 card.It was also the first time that the Chargers won back-to-back games, thanks in large part to Dindin Manabat’s 22 points, and the combined 29 points coming from Faith Nisperos and rookie Fifi Sharma.

“We want to get that podium finish this season. Everyone is super motivated, super hungry to win and now that we have the people that we need, the things that we’re lacking in the past few seasons, we’re more than ready to fight for that podium finish,” Erika Raagas, who chipped in with 13 points, said.

Akari was coming off a four-set victory over Chery Tiggo, 25-20, 18-25, 25-22, 25-20, on Tuesday to bounce back from its only loss thus far.

Trisha Tubu paced Farm Fresh with 24 points on 18 kills while Kate Santiago added 15 on 13 attacks in the loss.

So still well-oiled are the Cool Smashers that they have dropped just one set in three games despite playing fellow powerhouses Choco Mucho and Cignal last week.

“I am just thankful that they are playing well,” Meneses said of his players.

Michele Gumabao sustained her fiery display by leading the Cool Smashers with 12 points, slowing down a bit after posting back-to-back 20-point games against the Flying Titans and the HD Spikers.

And she is just happy to share the floor with everyone.

“Teamwork, it’s the most important thing,” Gumabao said. “The connection is there, we just need to follow the system and execute.”

Creamline gets another young opponent in Farm Fresh next, and Meneses is expected to use the same tactic to get the entire team ready, like he did in utilizing rookie setter Bea Bonafe.

“The opportunity for Bea actually starts in practice,” Meneses said. “She starts out at practice and is very hardworking. She will still improve (as the tournament goes on) because she works really hard.”

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Bonafe, tapped out of the University of the Philippines program in the UAAP, comes as an able reliever to Kyle Negrito, who suddenly became Meneses’ ace setter after De Guzman left.“I am just so happy because I am finally in a team who takes care of me and believes in me,” Bonafe said.