The Creamline Cool Smashers ousted the reigning champions Chery Tiggo Crossovers from the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference with a 25-18, 25-14, 23-25, 25-19 victory to advance to the semifinal round on Monday night at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
After a third-set letdown that saw them lose despite losing by four points late in the set, the Cool Smashers kept their head in the game and pulled away in the fourth, shattering a 16-all tie by winning nine of the next 12 points to pick up the victory in front of a raucous crowd that had several celebrities including Vice Ganda. Jeanette Panaga’s running attack sealed the victory that gave Creamline the second semis spot after Cignal achieved the feat earlier in the day.
Tots Carlos produced 17 points and 16 excellent digs while Jema Galanza added 16 points and nine receptions to help Creamline turn away a gutsy Chery Tiggo side that fought to the very end.
“Expected naman namin na hindi ganun kadali yung game kasi siyempre defending champions sila. Ready din kami dun sa comeback nila sa third set so nakarecover naman kami agad,” said Cool Smashers head coach Sherwin Meneses.
Panaga finished with 15 points for Creamline while Alyssa Valdez and Celine Domingo chipped in 11 and 10 points, respectively. Jia De Guzman delivered 26 excellent sets laced with four points while Kyla Atienza patrolled the Taraflex with 18 excellent digs and eight receptions.
On the other hand, Mylene Paat led the defending champions with 11 points while EJ Laure added nine markers and eight digs. Dindin Santiago-Manabat was held to just four points in the loss.
The loss was a bitter pill to swallow for Chery Tiggo as they had high hopes of defending the title after winning the inaugural staging of this event back in August 2021. The Crossovers also missed the services of their ace, the 6-foot-4 Jaja Santiago, who did not play in a single game in this competition due to her commitment to Japan’s V.League.