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Cool Smashers wrests solo lead as Water Defenders stun Crossovers

CREAMLINE dragged into a four-setter twice to launch its title-retention drive in the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference, went through a tougher, more challenging route but still came out of it a winner, foiling Black Mamba Army, 20-25, 25-15, 25-27, 25-19, 15-13, to seize the solo lead at the PCV Socio-Civic Cultural Center in Bacarra here Thursday night.

In a tense-filled finish dominated by the lesser-fancied Lady Troopers, heart prevailed over experience as the Cool Smashers fought back from 3-9 down behind Michele Gumabao, Tots Carlos, Jeanette Panaga and Alyssa Valdez while pouncing on their rivals’ costly miscues, the last helping the Cool Smashers’ complete the come-from-behind win after Valdez put the team at match-point on a stinging kill.

Like Army, BaliPure exposed some chinks in Chery Tiggo’s armor. Unlike the Lady Troopers, however, the Water Defenders succeeded in shocking the Crossovers, battling back in the fourth then out-steadying their highly favored rivals in the decider for a 19-25, 25-19, 13-25, 27-25, 15-12 reversal later in the night.

The Water Defenders, who dropped a four-set loss to the Lady Troopers last Tuesday, thus capped a night of five-setters in the inaugural pro staging of the league and evened their card at 1-1 for joint fourth with the Petro Gazz Angels and Cignal HD Spikers.

Gracielle Bombita took charge in the fifth set, pumping in a power hit over two defenders to shatter a 10-all count then added another blast that helped key BaliPure’s decisive 5-2 closeout aided by a Jasmine Nabor errant set that clinched it for the Water Defenders.

Chery Tiggo, which swept its first two games in straight-set fashions, slipped to 3-1, yielding the solo lead to Creamline.

Carlos, earning a starting spot after an impressive seven-hit performance in the last two sets of Creamline’s 24-26, 28-26, 26-22. 25-20 victory over Petro Gazz last Tuesday, more than tripled her previous output, finishing with 26 points, including 24 attacks.

“We made some adjustments, they worked and it’s a good thing that we were able to clinch the win,” said Creamline coach Sherwin Meneses, whose heavily favored wards sat on pins and needles majority of the match in the face of the Lady Troopers’ superb all-around game.

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