It’s not supposed to be this easy. Another five-setter classic is due when the undefeated Banko Perlas Lady Spikers went up against the 4-1 Creamline Cool Smashers. But by the end of this PVL Open Conference 2018 match, the Cool Smashers outclassed them in straight sets. It was evident though that the squad of coach Tai Bundit came prepared for the tough challenge. Banko Perlas lost the level of intensity that carried them to five straight wins. Here’s how Creamline froze Banko Perlas’ game plan:
Neutralize their scorers
Dzi Gervacio and Nicole Tiamzon were averaging 18 and 15 points a game respectively in the first five matches. But Creamline held the former Ateneo Lady Eagle to five points while Tiamzon only had nine. They dealt with Gervacio by directing service attempts towards her which makes it harder for her to adjust for an attack. Risa Sato and Pau Soriano were also quick to adjust towards Banko Perlas’ point of attack. Creamline also tallied 78 excellent digs to neutralize the flight of Banko Perlas’ spikes.
The energy by which the Perlas Lady Spikers played this game was off by the second set. Creamline played at a quicker pace and they did not have the zest to match that. This gave the Cool Smashers a 46-33 edge in spikes though Banko Perlas had more attempts (140-134).
Of blocks and errors
The Banko Perlas Lady Spikers had a 10-5 edge in blocks with Kathy Bersola alone matching Creamline’s total. But their 21 total errors as compared to 12 by Creamline negated that advantage. Ten of those mistakes came from the tight first set which they lost (24-26). They could have taken the opening set if not for these mistakes and doing so might translate to a win.
Alyssa Valdez was not outworked
Valdez connected on 22 spikes out of 69 attempts in their win against the Pocari Sweat Lady Warriors. That would be understandable for the game went to five sets. But next to her tally in that game is Risa Sato with only 27. The wide discrepancy in those figures show how much effort she exerted for modest returns.
That’s not the case against Banko Perlas for she got 16 out of only 46 attempts. That’s a 34.7% success rate compared to only 31.8% in the Pocari Sweat game. Following her is Jema Galanza with 30 attempts which means that Jia Morado was able to spread the ball well. The fair distribution of 76 spike attempts between them made it harder for Banko Perlas to adjust their defense accordingly. Add to that the quick attacks of Soriano, Sato, and Fille Cainglet-Cayetano and the Perlas Spikers were in trouble.
Valdez led the way for Creamline with 20 points (16 spikes, three service aces, one block) while Best Player of the Game Galanza had 15. Sato tallied seven markers while Soriano and Cayetano each had five. Morado added three points. Bersola led Banko Perlas with 12 points while team captain Suzanne Roces made nine. Tiamzon also had nine while Gervacio and Amanda Villanueva had five apiece. Mary Joy Dacoron contributed four points while Amy Ahomiro and Fenela Emnas scored one point each.
Game implications and next schedule
Creamline’s victory forged a three-way tie with Banko Perlas and Ateneo-Motolite at the top of the standings. The logjam will be broken as the 5-1 Cool Smashers face the 5-1 Lady Eagles on October 21 at 6 pm. Banko Perlas will go for win number six against Pocari Sweat on the same day at 4 pm. The Baliwag Star Arena in Bulacan will be the venue for both games.