Creamline Cool Smashers. PVL PHOTO
MANILA, Philippines — Celine Domingo came to the rescue in the extended fourth set as Creamline clinched a semifinal berth after dealing Chery Tiggo its first loss, 25-23, 20-25, 25-12, 32-30, in the Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference on Saturday at Sta. Rosa Sports Complex in Laguna.
In a battle of two unbeaten teams, the Cool Smashers displayed their championship poise in a neck-and-neck fourth set, where they saved five set point advantages of the Crossovers before Domingo nailed back-to-back crucial kills to keep her squad unbeaten in five games and join their foes in the semis.
The Cool Smashers and Crossovers still clashed in a thrilling game despite the unavailability of the video challenge, which caused a controversial finish in the first game between Petro Gazz and PLDT.
Alyssa Valdez lifted Creamline at match point, 24-23, but Jema Galanza committed an overreaching violation, allowing Chery Tiggo to force a deuce and take the set point, 25-24, on Jelena Cvijovic’s attack that went long but the referee called a check ball off Michele Gumabao’s block attempt.
The Crossovers sustained the advantage behind the clutch plays of Czarina Carandang and Mylene Paat to tie the set at 30-all. Domingo nailed a quick hit to bring back the Cool Smashers on top before setter Jia De Guzman set her up for a match-clinching kill.
“The fourth set was anyone’s game. We’re lucky we got the break,” said Creamline coach Sherwin Meneses in Filipino. “But we still have a lot of lapses that we need to work on. We’re just thankful that we won today. We really prepare the same way for every game either first game, last game and semifinals.”
Yeliz Basa powered Creamline with 22 points built on 19 attacks, two aces, and a block to go with 10 digs to keep her team unbeaten with a 5-0 record. Galanza had 14 points and 12 excellent receptions, while Valdez added 13 markers and nine digs.