It was evident early on that The Phenom is not in tip-top condition. She was limping her way to the service line and was favoring her right foot when she skies for spikes.
To prevent further injury, Fille Cainglet-Cayetano replaced the Creamline team captain when the tally was 16-11 to their favor in the second set. That seemed to be a minor issue for the Cool Smashers as they took the second set, 25-16. The Cool Smashers also won the first with an identical score line.
Valdez stayed on the bench early in the third set as she put on her warmer and had her ankle taped. The Fighting Warays seized this opportunity to build a 15-10 lead in the third set. Responding to a sense of urgency, the 2017 PVL Reinforced Open Conference MVP came back to the game and converted an attack to trim Tacloban’s lead to four. However, the squad of Coach Nes Pamilar established momentum until they mounted a 23-19 lead.
But Valdez will not be denied, injured ankle and all. She converted a spike from Zone 4 and pounced on a free ball to trim the lead to one, 23-22. Jovielyn Prado brought Tacloban to set point but Alina Bicar’s service error gave Creamline new life. Valdez’ dink tied the count at 24 and her kill off a combination play with Sato in the middle turned the favor to the Cool Smashers. Morado’s service ace ensured a straight-sets win, 26-24.
By the end of the match, Valdez had ten attack points, two blocks, and five aces. She even has 11 excellent digs on just 15 attempts. But beyond those numbers, she adds another chapter to her legend with a gutsy performance. Yet even though Creamline won the match, Alyssa Valdez’ injury is still a major concern. As manifested in this game, take her away and the Cool Smashers’ offense is frozen.