By Cip D.C. Cabrera
Creamline is on top in this year’s Philippine Volleyball League Invitational Conference. (Photo credits: Rappler)
2:30 p.m. — Army vs. Cignal
5:30 p.m. — Creamline vs. PLDT
ANTIPOLO CITY — Targeting their third straight win, PLDT Home Fibr puts its strong start on the line against the dangerous Creamline Cool Smashers in the single-round robin semifinal phase of the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Invitational Conference today at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.
In the match up, the Cool Smashers look to cash in on their wing advantage through Tots Carlos, Alyssa Valdez and Jema Galanza even as the High Speed Hitters also boast of power spikers in Chin Basas, Fiola Ceballos and Jules Samonte with PLDT coach George Pascua now having the luxury of inserting Jovie Prado and Erika Santos into his rotation to add to his team’s scoring act.
More importantly, PLDT has to show up with new offensive threats in both Prado and Santos, who recently combined for 14 points in their team’s stretch-run drive in the third and fourth sets of their come-from-behind 15-25, 25-13, 25-23, 25-23 win over the Cignal HD Spikers.
Teammates Dell Palomata and Mika Reyes must also re-assert their control of the middle the way they did when they pooled 30 points, mostly on quick attacks and blocks, against the HD Spikers, and in anticipation of their fierce net duel with Creamline’s Pangs Panaga, Risa Sato and Celine Domingo.
This would make both teams’ face-off exciting and worth watching by volley fans with the High Speed Hitters out to get back at the Cool Smashers, who thrashed them with a 25-22, 25-16, 25-21 victory on a 53-29 attack romp in the eliminations of the mid-season conference organized by Sports Vision.
Creamline us now on top of the qualifiers after repulsing Army Black Mamba in four to launch their finals drive and prime itself up against PLDT for a chance at the lead heading into next week’s battle royal.
Game time is at 5:30 p.m. with the High Speed Hitters.
Prior to the Creamline-PLDT clash, Cignal seeks to rebound from its sorry setback to the High Speed Hitters as it battles Army’s Lady Troopers in the 2:30 p.m. match.
Both the HD Spikers and Army Black Mamba have yet to barge into the win column, making their battle very crucial as they try to avert a virtual elimination.
In scuttling Army in three sets and Cignal in four, PLDT currently leads the semifinal round of the tourney with a 2-0 card, but it will take more than streak, confidence and poise to overcome Creamline.
On the other hand and against the HD Spikers, the High Speed Hitters have showcased their offensive strength by producing 59 attack points against their rivals’ 46.
Meanwhile, guest teams Kobe Shinwa from Japan and Taiwan’s King Whale will also make their debut in the league as they collide in the 2:30 p.m. opener with Creamline and Cignal HD mixing it up again at 5:30 p.m. at the Mall of Asia Arena. (ai/mtvn)