Creamline outduels rival F2 Logistics in a five-set PVL semifinal thriller

Creamline outlasts F2 to begin their semifinal round on a high note (PVL Images)

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

What a way to kick off the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Invitational Conference round-robin semifinals.

In a blockbuster rivalry matchup last July 20, 2023, the All-Filipino Conference defending champions Creamline Cool Smashers completed another test of character after completing a five-set marathon treat against their arch nemesis squad F2 Logistics Cargo Movers, 12-25, 25-15, 23-25, 30-28, 15-7, held at the Philsports Arena.

After going down 1-2 after a flurry of offensive streaks from the Cargo Movers, the Cool Smashers gave their all in the fourth set which forced a deciding final frame.

The Cool Smashers avoided a disappointing meltdown in the fourth set as they took a 20-10 lead but was quickly trimmed to just five, 21-16 after the Cargo Movers hit timely outside spikes matched with their improved middle blocking.

F2 Logistics then turned on the jets and snowballed their way to a 7-2 offensive run that deadlocked the match at 23-all.

Just when the Cool Smashers needed someone to uplift their spirits and make big plays down the stretch, the returning volleyball superstar Alyssa Valdez answered the call for Creamline and pulled off several momentum-clinching sequences.

As the Cargo Movers moved a point away from clinching their first semifinal win when they nabbed a 24-25 lead, Valdez stepped up for the Cool Smashers after scoring a powerful cross-court hit to tie the game up again at 25-all.

Valdez wasn’t done doing damage after notching her second-straight spike score off F2’s missed block to help Creamline retake the advantage, 26-25.

F2 fought back after a couple of hits from Ivy Lacsina but Valdez iced the fourth set with two of the biggest plays of the stretch: A smart play to locate a hole in the Cargo Movers’ defense using a tipping set for the 28-27 lead and the winning setup assist to Jema Galanza that made fifth set possible.

However, the Cargo Movers failed to put up a close fight in the deciding set after allowing the Cool Smashers to jump to a comfortable 9-1 lead.

F2’s Majoy Baron tried to light up her team after completing two quick attacks but the Cool Smashers officially fended them off after a Risa Sato spike from the left area.

Valdez capped off her majestic playoff return with 17 big points while Galanza top-scored Creamline with 20 points built from 17 successful attacks.

“Syempre masaya kami nakuha namin yung panalo dahil lahat ng games sa semis napakaimportante eh, thank you rin ako sa mga players dahil hindi daw sila napagod nang husto pero pagod na pagod na,” said Creamline head coach Sherwin Meneses.

Creamline will look to make it back-to-back semifinal wins as they face the rejuvenated Cignal HD Spikers today in the PVL classification matchup.