Keys to victory for Creamline and Petro Gazz

Wednesday, 28 Nov 2018
Lawrence Fernandez - Editor - @lancefernandez
Photo credit: Noel Monzales, Volleyball PH

The Creamline Cool Smashers and the Petro Gazz Angels will battle in a best-of-three series for a spot in the PVL Open Conference 2018 Final. This proves to be an exciting match-up as both squads have won against each other in the preliminary round. Here’s how Creamline and Petro Gazz can claim victory and have the right to face either the Banko Perlas Spikers or the Ateneo-Motolite Lady Eagles.

How Petro Gazz should ignite against Creamline

Though they have talented spikers in Stephanie Mercado and Jonah Sabete, Petro Gazz will not win a match if they will just trade points with Creamline. The Cool Smashers have a more talented roster offense-wise on paper. Therefore, they should turn the match into a defensive battle to limit Creamline’s opportunities to score.

The squad of Coach Jerry Yee won the fifth set of their first game against the Cool Smashers by revving up their net defense. It allowed them to embark on a 15-1 run to win the match after being down 4-0 in the deciding set. Therefore, the likes of Cherry Rose Nunag, Maricar Baloaloa, and Ranya Musa must keep an eye on Alyssa Valdez, Jema Galanza, and the rest of Creamline’s spikers to thwart their attack.

Petro Gazz is a better blocking team than Creamline, as stats from both their games in the PVL Open Conference show. They must impose their dominance in either totally stopping the Cool Smashers or tipping their shots so that the receivers can make good passes to Chie Saet. Dominating the block game will also frustrate Creamline into thinking that none of their plays work.

Aside from blocking, the Angels must say a prayer with every serve in hopes of getting aces or free balls from them. A talented team like Creamline should not get good sets because they make defenders pay once they do. Mercado, Nunang, Djanel Cheng, and Alyssa Layug should be the catalysts of Petro Gazz’ aggressive service game by giving a variety of balls away from Valdez, Melissa Gohing, and Jia Morado who are dependable receivers too.

Cienne Cruz will have her hands full today. But she will be instrumental in snatching points away from Creamline by tracking the ball all game. Finally, Petro Gazz must keep its cool against a predominantly pro-Creamline crowd. Concentrating on one rally at a time will help them deal with their nerves.

How Creamline can smash Petro Gazz

Having Alyssa Valdez is an advantage. The frontrunner for conference MVP has never failed to deliver the goods for the Cool Smashers as they storm to an 11-3 record after the two preliminary rounds. But given that Petro Gazz will do everything in its power to neutralizer the former Ateneo Lady Eagle, Valdez can be used as a decoy to fool the Angels’ net minders by running a number of combination plays that other Creamline spikers will finish.

Because Valdez can attract two or more blockers, she can then free up the likes of Galanza, Cayetano, Michelle Gumabao, and Risa Sato to score points with limited opposition. It would be understandable if bulk of the sets from Morado will go to Valdez early in the game. As they active their team captain’s offense, Petro Gazz will have a difficult time stopping Creamline at the net. When the ball is spread out to Creamline’s attackers, Valdez won’t be as gassed for Game 2 and Game 3 if need be.

The Cool Smashers have dominated Petro Gazz in spike points in their two preliminary round games. They had a 61-50 edge in their first encounter and a 35-22 in the second. It will be a short game for Creamline once they can impose their offensive prowess. It will lessen Valdez’ attempts but she could care less as long as everyone gets involved.

Head coach Tai Bundit must also find a way to activate more quick attacks from the middle. Petro Gazz will be able to adjust their defense if Morado will continue to deliver the balls on the wings. But executing a number of fast strikes will leave the Angels helpless in facing the Creamline onslaught.

Finally, the Creamline Cool Smashers have better floor defense than the Angels. They cannot take Petro Gazz’ spikers lightly. Thus, they must cover the ground to anticipate the Angels’ attacks especially from the middle. Gohing and Kyla Atienza must serve as spies to assess where Saet will bring the ball and communicate it to other diggers accordingly.