Cool Smashers secure top seed after defeating hard-fighting Akari Chargers
Creamline secured the top seed in the 2023 PVL All-Filipino Conference semifinals after surviving a tough challenge by Akari in front of thousands of fans at the San Agustin Gym in Iloilo City Tuesday night.
As part of the PVL On Tour, the Cool Smashers and the Chargers brought the heat on, engaging in a gripping battle in the first three sets before league-leading Creamline stamped its class in a lopsided fourth-set beating.
The result was a 25-17, 25-22, 27-29, 25-8 victory that ultimately ended Akari’s campaign in this conference.
With top gun Dindin Santiago-Manabat struggling, it was Eli Soyud’s turn once more to shine bright for the Chargers, as she delivered a turbocharged effort with 17 points off 12 kills, three aces and two blocks.
Soyud, who hails from nearby Negros Occidental, put on a show in the third set, willing Akari back from the dead and putting on a performance for the ages.
The 5-foot-11 opposite’s exploits included several rocket-like spikes, a couple of blocks on former league MVP Tots Carlos, and timely aces that turned the tide for the Chargers.
Trisha Genesis, Erika Raagas and Cams Victoria also contributed in the third-set surge of the wards of coach Jorge De Brito.
But Akari was given a rude awakening in the fourth set, as the Cool Smashers put on a masterclass, zooming to a massive lead early and never looking back.
Michele Gumabao continued to pile on her MVP case with 19 points while Carlos had 16 points, 12 digs and 16 excellent receptions. Jema Galanza also dominated with 17 markers.
Meanwhile, Genesis had nine points while Raagas and Victoria combined for 13 points.
Santiago-Manabat was checked by Creamline’s blockers and was held to her lowest output of the season at six points.