By ADRIAN STEWART CO
Alyssa Valdez delivered in the endgame as the Creamline Cool Smashers cruised to a 22-25, 25-20, 29-27, 24-26, 15-12 victory over the Choco Mucho Flying Titans in Game 2 of the PVL All-Filipino Conference finals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Saturday, December 16.
Used sparingly in the first four sets, Valdez was unleashed by Cool Smashers head coach Sherwin Meneses in the fifth frame as she came up with timely points that turned a 3-6 deficit to an 8-all score.
An error by Cool Smashers’ Diana Carlos gave the Flying Titans their last taste of the lead at 9-8, but a costly service error by Choco Mucho’s Regine Arocha fueled the Creamline’s finishing run.
Michele Gumabao made an instant impact off-the-bench as she gave Creamline the lead at 10-9 before Jeanette Panaga scored on a block and an attack for a 12-10 advantage.
Cherry Rondina pulled Choco Mucho to within 11-12 via a drop hit, but Creamline responded with another attack point from Gumabao and an error from the Flying Titans to reach the championship point at 14-11.
Choco Mucho managed to save a match point courtesy of a drop ball by Kat Tolentino, but Valdez secured a championship for Creamline as she unleashed a powerful hit towards the defense of the Flying Titans.
Valdez wound up with eight markers. Gumabao pumped in five clutch points and Panaga contributed 11 points as the Cool Smashers clinched their seventh PVL championship by closing the best-of-three series at 2-0.
Carlos top-scored for Creamline with 26 points, while Galanza chipped in 21 markers for the Cool Smashers, which also swept all their 15 matches in the PVL’s season-ending conference.
Rondina finished with 33 points to lead the way for the Flying Titans, while Maddie Madayag and Tolentino finished with 16 and 15 points, respectively, as they achieved their first-ever runner-up finish in the competition.
Meanwhile, the Cignal HD Spikers salvaged a bronze medal finish following their 18-25, 25-21, 25-22, 26-24 victory over the Chery Tiggo Crossovers in the battle-for-third place series./ASC, WDJ