Cool Smashers kick off ‘Slam’ drive

Games today:
(Philsports Arena)
2:30 p.m. — PLDT vs Creamline
5:30 p.m. — F2 Logistics vs Choco Mucho

Creamline tries to put its Grand Slam bid in motion as it faces PLDT in the third eliminations playdate of the Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference at the Philsports Arena in Pasig today.

With a powerhouse local cast, led by the troika of Tots Carlos, Jema Galanza and Alyssa Valdez, and opposite spiker Yeliz Basa from Turkey, the Cool Smashers plunge into an early test of will and character against the High Speed Hitters, who edged the UAI-Army Lady Troopers in five in last Saturday’s inaugurals of the season-ending conference.

Winner of the Open Conference and the Invitationals, Creamline is hard-pressed to sustain its run for a record feat with the rest of the nine-team field going flat out to foil the Cool Smashers’ sweep of the season’s three jewels.

“Sure, expectations are high. Honestly, at the back of our heads, that is the goal while in training,” said skipper Valdez, who was actually part of the two PLDT squads that helped coach Roger Gorayeb complete his personal grand slam back in the 12th season of the V-League in 2015.

One thing going for the 6-2 Basa against PLDT’s 6-foot-5 Elena Samoilenko is that she’s surrounded by a slew of aces ready to step up at any given time — from liberos Kyla Atiena and Ella de Jesus, setters Jia Morado-De Guzman and Kyle Negrito, to middles Pangs Panaga, Risa Sato, Pau Soriano, Lorie Bernardo and Celine Domingo, and hitters Mcihele Gumabao, Fille Cayetano, Rizza Mandapat and Rose Vargas.

But PLDT also boasts of a crack local crew, including a pair of intimidating middles in Mika Reyes and Dell Palomata, along with setters Rhea Dimaculangan and Wendy Semana, and hitters Jules Samonte, Joy Soyud, Chin Basas and Fiola Ceballos with Samoilenko proving her worth early by unloading 35 points against the Lady Troopers.
Gametime is at 2:30 p.m.

F2 Logistics and Choco Mucho also clash in a duel of teams that dropped their respective opening game assignments with import Lindsay Stalzer raring to lead the Cargo Movers after being sidelined against the Chery Tiggo Crossovers last Tuesday due to health and safety protocols.

But all cleared, the American reinforcement is expected to provide the firepower and leadership lacking in the Cargo Movers’ game against the Crossovers, who rallied to snatch the first set and then dominated their rivals in the next two to fashion out a 25-23, 25-21, 25-22 victory.

That should make the 5:30 p.m. main game worth watching with the Flying Titans also out to make up for their tough 25-27, 22-25, 26-28 setback to the Petro Gazz Angels in a match that could’ve gone either way.

But the 2019 champion Angels proved steadier in the end, banking on the duo of import Lindsey Vander Weide and local ace Jonah Sabete while pouncing on the Flying Titans’ miscues in the stretch.

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