MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATED) The Creamline Cool Smashers ended the first round on a high note, defeating BaliPure in straight sets for their fourth consecutive victory in the 2019 Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Reinforced Conference on Wednesday at the FilOil Flying V Sports Centre.
Creamline battled through a tough third set for a 25-19, 25-18, 25-23 triumph over the Water Defenders, improving to 4-1 in the conference.
They finished the first round in solo second place.
BaliPure, meanwhile, wrapped up its first-round schedule with a 0-5 record.
"From the two previous years playing here, I guess ito 'yung medyo may struggles sa una pa lang," said Creamline captain Alyssa Valdez, whose team dropped its first match to league-leading PetroGazz and changed head coaches after just one game.
"I guess that means na marami pa kaming kailangan i-improve as a team, lalo na't kita namin na pataas ng pataas ang laro ng mga kalaban namin."
The Cool Smashers took a quick 2-0 lead, banking on their firepower to overwhelm the Water Defenders.
But BaliPure rebounded in the third set, surging to a 10-4 lead behind import Alex Vajdova, who punched in 3 quick hits to give her team a good start. After trailing by 6 points, Creamline rallied, scoring 7 unanswered points behind Thai reinforcement Kuttika Kaewpin.
It was a back-and-forth game from there, with BaliPure taking its last lead, 21-20, off a Menchie Tubiera hit. Creamline scored 3 straight points, as Risa Sato blocked Sandy delos Santos, Jema Galanza fired an ace, and Tubiera sent an attack wide.
Tubiera's service error put Creamline at match point, 24-22, before Vajdova struck again to save a point for BaliPure. But the Cool Smashers showed their poise in the final rally, with Morado finding Sato for a quick hit to end the frame.
"Siguro, 'yung breaks of the game, sakto," said Valdez. "Nag-adjust din sa third set ang BaliPure, pero sa latter part, naka-adjust din kami as a team."
Valdez scored 16 points, while Kaewpin added 11 for the Cool Smashers who had a 44-34 advantage on kills. They also got 20 free points off the Water Defenders' unforced errors.
Vajdova led the still-winless BaliPure with 17 points, while Dani Dzakovic had 10 points.
Creamline opens its second round campaign on Saturday against BanKo-Perlas in Iloilo CIty.
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