Cool Smashers favored to apply broom on game but hurting Angels

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Tots Carlos (middle) will provide heavy artillery for Creamline in Game 2. —PVL

Creamline guns for a sweep of the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference championship, the one title that eluded the proud franchise last year in a very bitter way, and the one that would complete the Cool Smashers’ journey from pain to glory.

In what could be Creamline’s eighth straight win and an unbeaten run to the title, the Cool Smashers go up against the hurting and overworked Petro Gazz Angels in Game 2 of the best-of-three title series at Ynares Center in Antipolo.

Counting the thrilling 25-16, 23-25, 25-12, 32-30 victory in Game 1 on Wednesday, Creamline has everything going for it coming into the 6 p.m. encounter.

“It’s a big thing that pressure is on Petro Gazz,” said Creamline coach Sherwin Meneses in Filipino. “We only need to win three more sets. We learned our lessons from last year that’s why I told the players we enjoy this [Game 1 win] a little then go to practice.”

Yet despite the odds, the Angels have proven they can overcome adversity, especially after climbing from 0-1 in the semifinals to pull the rug from under erstwhile unbeaten Cignal HD.

But they’re in a much deeper rut this time, as the long, tough grind has taken a toll on the Angels’ top players like Myla Pablo, who suffered from cramps in the series opener; Grethcel Soltones, who has a suspected knee injury and Nicole Tiamzon (sprain).

“The team is mature enough to hold on, if they give us a break we’ll take it. If we can keep the match close, we’ll go for it,” said Petro Gazz coach Jerry Yee. “I like the maturity of my team. On Friday we’ll give them a fight.”

Creamline is going for something big. The Cool Smashers want redemption after losing the 2021 Open title to Chery Tiggo despite a 1-0 lead in the finals.

“Coming into this conference, we had a lot of lessons that we learned from the last conference,” said Jia Morado-de Guzman. “That’s what happened then, and we let go. Those are experiences that we want to learn from and we don’t have to repeat this conference.”

A victory on Friday would also mean something big for Meneses and the team’s resident scoring machine, Tots Carlos. Both haven’t won a title in their careers.

“I’m very excited, but I don’t want to jinx it, we still have to work for it.” said Meneses, who has mentored collegiate and club teams before landing the job at Creamline.

Carlos has been a vital cog for University of the Philippines in the collegiate league, but her ventures in several club teams haven’t been fruitful until this potentially big one.

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