The Creamline Cool Smashers defeated the Chery Tiggo Crossovers, 25-15, 25-21, 18-25, 19-25, 15-7, in Game 1 of their 2021 Premier Volleyball League Open Conference Finals on Wednesday at the PCV Socio-Civic and Cultural Center, Bacarra, Ilocos Norte.
The defending champions Cool Smashers was pushed to the brink after Chery Tiggo erased the Cool Smashers’ 2-0 advantage and forced a decider.
However, in the deciding set, the Crossovers appeared to run out of gas, and Alyssa Valdez took over for the Cool Smashers, who eventually won and moved one win away from capturing the PVL 2021 Open Conference title.
Early in the fifth, Creamline went on a 6-0 run, fueled by a Valdez crosscourt hit that caused Chery Tiggo to call its second and last timeout, 6-1.
Despite several points by Jaja Santiago, the Cool Smashers held on to their 11-5 advantage thanks to Valdez and Jema Galanza’s ace.
Creamline reached match point thanks to another off-the-block hit from the Phenom and another ace from Jia Morado.
Valdez added a combination play to the first game of the finals series.
Despite Valdez’s late-game scoring punch, tallying 21 attacks throughout the match, it was newcomer Tots Carlos who dominated the whole game, scoring 26 points on 22 spikes, her fourth straight game with at least 20 points.
Jema Galanza had a triple-double with 17 points, 18 excellent digs, and 13 excellent receptions, while star setter Jia Morado had 41 excellent sets, 7 markers, and 4 aces.
Santiago, on the other hand, scored 25 points, while her older sister, Dindin Santiago Manabat, scored 19.
With 9 points, Shaya Adorador was already the team’s third-highest scorer, while veteran Mylene Paat was restricted to just 2 points in a five-set battle.