The Akari Chargers held their ground against the defending champions Creamline Cool Smashers before ultimately losing
in four sets, 19-25, 26-24, 24-26, 19-25, in the 2023 PVL Invitational Conference at the PhilSports Arena, July 15.

Dindin Santiago-Manabat came off the bench and answered the call for the Chargers together with rookie Faith Nisperos. The duo topscored for Akari with 18 points each, while Trisha Genesis had another good day in the office with 10 markers.

Unfortunately, their big time performances still fell short against a stacked Creamline squad.

Jema Galanza led the way for the Cool Smashers with 16 points and seven excellent receptions. Tots Carlos and Alyssa Valdez tallied 14 and 12 markers respectively, while Jeannette Panaga and Celine Domingo chipped in 11 points apiece. Jia De Guzman shined as the conductor of the Creamline orchestra with 24 excellent sets.

After a morale-boosting second set victory behind Manabat’s heroics, the Chargers couldn’t hold on to momentum in the third frame.  Coach Jorge Souza de Brito’s squad built a solid 11-4 edge. Nevertheless, Galanza and Co. showed why they are the defending champs — coming back to win the set at the expense of Akari’s endgame errors.

Down big in the early stretch of the fourth set, the Chargers clawed their way back to tie the game at 16-all. However, Creamline setter Kyle Negrito sparked a Cool Smashers run to spill the hopes of Akari.

Eli Soyud started for the Chargers and finished with eight points. On the other hand, middle blocker Krich Macaslang proved to be another solid contributor off the bench with five markers including three blocks. Jaja Maraguinot also had an impressive outing with four points and 14 excellent sets.

Manabat kept her head high despite the loss, believing that the team’s hard work and chemistry in practice translated to tonight’s game.

“Today sobrang happy ko kasi yung mga inaral namin nangyari sa loob ng court yung teamwork ngayong game,” she marveled.

Asked about the Chargers’ approach heading into their next game, the former National University standout said that the team will watch film of their next opponent and iron out their communication and endgame miscues so that they can be ready against the Quezon City Gerflor Defenders.

“Yung next game namin, pag-aaralan yung Gerflor and siyempre ulitin kung ano yung magagandang nangyari sa loob ng court [in tonight’s game]. Nandoon na yung communication, nandoon na yung maturity. Kailangan lang namin i-polish para maging natural na lang samin yun na mag-usap-usap, mag-enjoy bawat point and ipasok sa isip lahat ng inaral namin para magawa namin [yun] every game,” Manabat replied.


Chargers (1) – Manabat 18, Nisperos 18, Genesis 10, Soyud 8, Macaslang 5, Maraguinot 4, Madrigal 3, Permentilla 1, Malaluan 1.

Cool Smashers (3) – Galanza 16, Carlos 14, Valdez 12, Domingo 11, Panaga 11, De Guzman 4, Negrito 3, Gumaba0 2, Sato 1.

Set scores: 19-25, 26-24, 24-26, 19-25