The Chery Tiggo Crossovers handed top-seeded Creamline Cool Smashers their first loss of the season after chalking up a nail-biting 25-18, 25-23, 23-25, 25-20 win in the 2021 PVL Open Conference at the PCV Socio-Civic & Cultural Center in Bacarra, Ilocos Norte Friday, July 30.
Leading 17-15 in the fourth set, the Crossovers fired a 5-0 blitz capped by a Shaya Adorador service ace to sustain a 22-15 lead late in the match.
But Creamline rallied with its mini runs to cut the deficit by four at 23-19.
With match point putting the pressure on the Cool Smashers, Jaja Santiago committed an attack error to give a glimmer of hope for Creamline.
The last attack of Alyssa Valdez, however, did not cross the net as called by first referee Lumer Pajarillo.
“Well, definitely our team performed at their best today, Jaja [Santiago], Dindin [Santiago-Manabat], and Maika [Ortiz] were able to lead the team and that’s what we’re really hoping for,” said Chery Tiggo coach Aaron Velez.
“Like I said, we just have to go back to work. We still have a lot of rust that we have to clean up and then we have to stay connected and then remove all the negative thoughts or negative things that we have to get rid of.”
Jaja spearheaded Chery Tiggo with 20 points, 15 coming from kills, while her sister Dindin hammered 15 points on top of 10 kills. Maika Ortiz contributed 13 points with five blocks while Adorador and Mylene Paat chipped in 12 and 11 markers, respectively.
Creamline had its strongest comeback in the third set, overcoming an early 12-5 slump and cutting the deficit by just three points, 18-15.
Tots Carlos and and Risa Sato had to step up for Valdez, who was eventually subbed back in at 21-16 after earlier being Chery Tiggo’s main target for its first contact reception.
Down 22-17, Creamline fought back with an 8-1 run courtesy of Valdez, a Jia Morado service ace, and a couple of unforced errors by the Crossovers.
Valdez, who paced Creamline with 16 points with 13 kills, came through when needed the most as she ended the last two points with a block against Santiago followed up by a strong attack finish for the set win.
The Cool Smashers also had their chances in the second canto, trailing 24-23 at set point for Chery Tiggo, but a quick attack from Santiago sealed the deal for the Crossovers.
Carlos and Michele Gumabao had 12 and 10 markers, respectively, for Creamline.
Chery Tiggo solidified its place as one of the top contenders in the league at third place with a 4-2 record while Creamline moved to No. 2 at 5-1 as Choco Mucho (5-0) became the lone team to have an unbeaten record.