Creamline Cool Smashers’ Alyssa Valdez (left) and Cignal HD Spikers’ Gel Cayuna (right). (Photo courtesy: Inquirer.net/Twitter)
By Tracy Cabrera
MANILA — In suffering its first loss of the season, Creamline’s Alyssa Valdez took her team’s defeat in the 2022 Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Invitational with little misgiving as she believes it to be a wake-up call and extra motivation for their remaining three matches in the first round of the midseason tournament.
The Cool Smashers’ 10-game win streak dating back to their Open Conference eight-game sweep last April got snapped by the resilient Cignal HD Spikers, 21-25, 24-26, 25-14, 22-25, in the PVL Invitational Conference on Thursday at the Santa Rosa Sports Complex in Sta. Rosa, Laguna.
“In every win and every journey, it’s part of it. You win some, you lose some. You just accept it and the important thing is how you come back. We’ll take it as a challenge and it’s an extra motivation for us,” Valdez, who was limited to just nine points, commented on the sidelines. “Sometimes we need a wake-up call for us to learn from our mistakes and improve the things we lack. We’re just thankful for this opportunity and it happened in the middle part of the tournament,” she added.
The three-time PVL Most Valuable Player admitted that Cignal’s veteran spikers got the better of them after they gave up 32 errors and failed to match the HD Spikers’ 13 blocks—four each from Ces Molina and Ria Meneses.
But it was actually Cignal’s Gel Cayuna who played the hero as she hardly missed a beat from a week-long absence by propelling her teaml’s big win over Creamline that clinched a spot for them in the semifinals.
The Open Conference Best Setter, who rested last Saturday’s game and just joined her team hours before their game, repaid the trust of her coach Shaq Delos Santos with a stellar performance.
“I’m thankful because coach Shaq still trusted me even though I haven’t trained with the team,” Cayuna enthused in Filipino.
The Far Eastern University standout nailed a huge block on Jema Galanza, scored a crucial drop ball, and drilled an ace to give the HD Spikers the match point in the fourth set, 24-22, before Rachel Anne Daquis delivered the game-winning hit for their fourth straight win in as many matches.
“Good thing, I worked out and kept myself in condition at home. And using my muscle memory, I was able to do the things I have to do inside the court,” she remarked.
However, Cayuna, who dished out 17 excellent sets that paced Cignal’s balanced attack and had six points including three service aces, credited their fourth straight win to her teammates’ perseverance and hard work to prevent Creamline from forcing a fifth set.
“We played bravely. Because we all know that Creamline has a lot of veteran players, who are used to playing in close games,” she said. “So we stayed patient and worked hard for every point,” she concluded. (AI/MTVN)